JAMA: Stress-related disorders brought on by traumatic or stressful life events were associated with increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease.
Why The Research Is Interesting: Development of
stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
may influence multiple bodily systems, including immune function.
Whether this contributes to risk for autoimmune disease remains unclear.
Who and When: 106,464 patients in Sweden diagnosed
with stress-related disorders between 1981-2013 and compared
with 126,652 of their siblings and nearly 1.1 million individuals
without stress-related disorders.
What (Study Measures and Outcomes): Diagnosis of
stress-related disorders, such as PTSD, acute stress reaction,
adjustment disorder and other stress reactions (exposures); development
of 41 autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis,
Crohn disease and celiac disease (outcomes)
How (Study Design): This was an observational study.
Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot
control all the natural differences that could explain the study
Authors: Huan Song, M.D., Ph.D., University of Iceland, Reykjavik, and coauthors
Results: A stress-related disorder was associated
with an increased risk of a subsequent autoimmune disease compared with
siblings and other individuals without stress-related disorders.
Study Limitations: Diagnoses from primary care
aren’t included in a Swedish patient register, which could result in
fewer stress-related disorders and autoimmune diseases being detected,
particularly when the conditions are less severe.
Study Conclusions: More studies are needed to
understand possible reasons behind the association of stress-related
disorders and the development of autoimmune diseases.
To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.