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Depression Mixed With Isolation Can Increase Risk of Peptic Ulcer Recurrence

December 13, 2019

In older adults with mild cognitive impairment and depression, social isolation is significantly associated with an increased likelihood of peptic ulcer recurrence, according to a study published online in Psychosomatic Medicine. 

The study spanned 1900 adults age 55 and older with mild cognitive impairment in China. Participants had been successfully treated for had Helicobacter pylori infection and peptic ulcer disease and were followed for up to 3 years.

Compared with 5.5% of participants who were socially engaged, peptic ulcer disease recurred in 10.8% of participants who were socially isolated, according to the study. Yet when researchers looked at depression status in participants who were socially isolated, they found lower rates of peptic ulcer disease recurrence in those without depression or with decreasing depression: 7.2% and 8.2%, respectively.  

Conversely, socially isolated participants whose depression severity was unchanged had a peptic ulcer recurrence rate of 16.3%. In those whose depression worsened, the recurrence rate was 17.8%. 

“Although social isolation was associated with peptic ulcer disease recurrence during the 36-month follow-up period, it did not increase peptic ulcer disease recurrence risk in participants without depression or with reduced depression,” researchers wrote. “However, in participants with unchanged or increased depression, peptic ulcer disease recurrence was more likely to occur in socially isolated than in socially engaged participants.” 

Jolynn Tumolo


Fang B, Liu H, Yang S, Xu R, Chen G. Impact of social isolation on subsequent peptic ulcer recurrence in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: the role of change in severity of depression. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2019 December 2;[Epub ahead of print].

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