Depressed, lonely seniors are more likely to get C. diff, researchers find

Share this article:

People who are depressed or lonely are at increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection, according to recently published research.

University of Michigan Health System researchers conducted two studies. In one, they interviewed nearly 16,800 participants every other year from 1992-2006. The average age of participants was 68. The researchers linked the interview information with data from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Standard Analytical Files from a variety of healthcare settings, including skilled nursing facilities. The second study focused on C. diff patients in hospitals.

The results of the first study showed a relationship between depression and C. diff infection. Those with major depression were 36% more likely to get C. diff, and those with depressive disorders were 35% more likely to become infected. Widowed participants were 54% more likely to be diagnosed with C. diff, while people who did not live alone were 25% less likely to get the infection.

“Self-reports of feeling sad or having emotional, nervous or psychiatric problems at baseline were also associated with the later development of CDI,” the researchers wrote.

The second study showed that patients on Remeron (mirtazapine) and Prozac (fluoxetine) were twice as likely to be diagnosed with C. diff.

Previous studies have also linked depression and C. diff, the researchers noted. However, it remains unclear whether depression itself spurs microbial changes in the gut that are conducive to C. diff , or whether medications given to treat depression are the culprits.

The research was funded in part by the National Institute on Aging, and by a $7.5 million award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It appears in the journal BMC Medicine.

Click here for the full document.

Share this article:

More in News

House leader urges HHS to end settlements meant to cut Medicare backlog

The Department of Health and Human Services may not have had the authority to offer providers special settlements to help clear a huge backlog of Medicare appeals, a leading Congressman said in a recent letter to the agency. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) is urging HHS ...

One-fifth of caregivers take 6 months or longer to choose a senior ...

A significant number of people take six months or longer to choose a senior care or housing option for a loved one, recently released survey results showed.

CMS releases updated Minimum Data Set manual

CMS releases updated Minimum Data Set manual

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released an updated version of the Minimum Data Set 3.0 Resident Assessment Instrument manual Friday.