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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3937

Title: Blood Total Mercury Levels and Depression in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2008
Authors: Ng, Tsz Hin (Stanley)
Keywords: Public Health;Depression;Mercury
Issue Date: 3-Dec-2012
Abstract: Background Mercury is a neurotoxin that is associated with depression. The US population is exposed to low-levels of mercury from dental amalgam or fish consumption. It is unclear whether an association between mercury and depression is present in the US household population. Methods A total of 6,911 adults (age ≥20) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2005-2008 were included in this study. Blood total mercury of participants was assessed. Patient Health Questionnaire-9 was used to screen for depression (presence of any depressive spectrum disorders; score 5-27). The sample was analyzed as a whole or by age strata (younger adults: age 20-39; older adults: age ≥40). Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to examine the relationship between blood total mercury and depression. Results Whole sample analysis suggested that blood total mercury quintiles were inversely associated with depression (p<0.05; OR = 0.49, 95% CI: 0.36-0.65, comparing the highest to the lowest blood total mercury quintiles). This association largely disappeared after adjustment for SES. Among younger adults, no significant association between blood total mercury and depression was observed. Among older adults, the inverse relationship between blood total mercury and depression was confounded by SES but remained statistically significant. Further adjustment for other covariates did not affect the results. Conclusions A lower risk of depression was observed among individuals having a higher level of blood total mercury, but this association was confounded by SES. The persistent inverse relationship among the older population may be due to residual confounding.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3937
Appears in Collections:Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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