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1.  The contribution of major depression to the global burden of ischemic heart disease: a comparative risk assessment 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:250.
Cardiovascular disease and mental health both hold enormous public health importance, both ranking highly in results of the recent Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010). For the first time, the GBD 2010 has systematically and quantitatively assessed major depression as an independent risk factor for the development of ischemic heart disease (IHD) using comparative risk assessment methodology.
A pooled relative risk (RR) was calculated from studies identified through a systematic review with strict inclusion criteria designed to provide evidence of independent risk factor status. Accepted case definitions of depression include diagnosis by a clinician or by non-clinician raters adhering to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Classification of Diseases (ICD) classifications. We therefore refer to the exposure in this paper as major depression as opposed to the DSM-IV category of major depressive disorder (MDD). The population attributable fraction (PAF) was calculated using the pooled RR estimate. Attributable burden was calculated by multiplying the PAF by the underlying burden of IHD estimated as part of GBD 2010.
The pooled relative risk of developing IHD in those with major depression was 1.56 (95% CI 1.30 to 1.87). Globally there were almost 4 million estimated IHD disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), which can be attributed to major depression in 2010; 3.5 million years of life lost and 250,000 years of life lived with a disability. These findings highlight a previously underestimated mortality component of the burden of major depression. As a proportion of overall IHD burden, 2.95% (95% CI 1.48 to 4.46%) of IHD DALYs were estimated to be attributable to MDD in 2010. Eastern Europe and North Africa/Middle East demonstrate the highest proportion with Asia Pacific, high income representing the lowest.
The present work comprises the most robust systematic review of its kind to date. The key finding that major depression may be responsible for approximately 3% of global IHD DALYs warrants assessment for depression in patients at high risk of developing IHD or at risk of a repeat IHD event.
PMCID: PMC4222499  PMID: 24274053
Depression; Ischemic heart disease; Comparative risk assessment; Burden of disease
2.  Mental disorders as risk factors: assessing the evidence for the Global Burden of Disease Study 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:134.
Mental disorders are associated with a considerable burden of disease as well as being risk factors for other health outcomes. The new Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study will make estimates for both the disability and mortality directly associated with mental disorders, as well as the burden attributable to other health outcomes. Herein we discuss the process by which health outcomes in which mental disorders are risk factors are selected for inclusion in the GBD Study. We make suggestions for future research to strengthen the body of evidence for mental disorders as risk factors.
We identified a list of potential associations between mental disorders and subsequent health outcomes based on a review of the literature and consultation with mental health experts. A two-stage filter was applied to identify mental disorders and health outcomes that meet the criteria for inclusion in the GBD Study. Major limitations in the current literature are discussed and illustrated with examples identified during our review.
Results and discussion
Only two associations are included in the new GBD Study. These associations are the increased risk of ischemic heart disease with major depression and mental disorders as a risk factor for suicide. There is evidence that mental disorders are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes and injuries. However, these associations were unable to be included because of insufficient data. The most common reasons for exclusion were inconsistent identification of 'cases', uncertain validity of health outcomes, lack of generalizability, insufficient control for confounding factors and lack of evidence for temporality.
CVD, type 2 diabetes and injury are important public health policy areas. Prospective community studies of outcomes in patients with mental disorders are required, and their design must address a range of confounding factors.
PMCID: PMC3305628  PMID: 22176705
3.  Should Global Burden of Disease Estimates Include Depression as a Risk Factor for Coronary Heart Disease? 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:47.
The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study estimates the premature mortality and disability of all major diseases and injuries. In addition it aims to quantify the risk that diseases and other factors play in the aetiology of disease and injuries. Mental disorders and coronary heart disease are both significant public health issues due to their high prevalence and considerable contribution to global disease burden. For the first time the Global Burden of Disease Study will aim to assess mental disorders as risk factors for coronary heart disease. We show here that current evidence satisfies established criteria for considering depression as an independent risk factor in development of coronary heart disease. A dose response relationship appears to exist and plausible biological pathways have been proposed. However, a number of challenges exist when conducting a rigorous assessment of the literature including heterogeneity issues, definition and measurement of depression and coronary heart disease, publication bias and residual confounding. Therefore, despite some limitations in the available data, it is now appropriate to consider major depression as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in the new Global Burden of Disease Study.
PMCID: PMC3101124  PMID: 21539732

Results 1-3 (3)