In an analysis published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy of data from the UK Biobank, researchers found a link between allergic diseases and mental health conditions, although they noted that the link was likely not causal.
Therefore, although people with asthma, atopic dermatitis, and hay fever also had a higher likelihood of having depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or neuroticism, neither category appeared to play a role in causing the other. Nevertheless, future studies should investigate whether interventions that aim to improve allergic diseases might also impact mental health (and vice versa).
“Our research does not rule out a potential causal effect upon the progression of disease, which is yet to be investigated and could help uncover novel treatment strategies for allergic disease or mental health traits,” said lead author Ashley Budu-Aggrey, PhD, of the University of Bristol, in the UK.
Senior author Hannah Sallis, MSc, PhD, added that the research used a combination of approaches and data from several studies. “This helps to strengthen our confidence in the findings,” she said. “Establishing whether allergic disease causes mental health problems, or vice versa, is important to ensure that resources and treatment strategies are targeted appropriately.”
Clinical & Experimental Allergy