Blog & News

The CAPICE blog hosts news and announcements, events, media and articles, mostly written by the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs).
They constantly pursue the publication of articles about their research during their activities carried on within this project, and this blog works as a travelogue to disseminate the research results to a broad audience of scientists, clinicians, patients and their parents and the general public.

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A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry, authored by M. Leone, R. Kuja-Halkola, A. Leval, B.M. D’Onofrio, H. Larsson, P. Lichtenstein, S.E. Bergen, has been highlighted in the media. Marica Leone, ESR in the CAPICE project presented her recent paper on Health Report, a radio program on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC Radio National, on February 1, 2021. Previously, the study was mentioned by The New York Times, and Karolinska Institutet publlished a press release to underline the results of this work.

This study, "Association of Youth Depression With Subsequent Somatic Diseases and Premature Death", represents an important work that brings awareness to the issue of youth depression and the burden of this disease.

The study

Publication date: december 9, 2020

M. Leone, R. Kuja-Halkola, A. Leval, B.M. D’Onofrio, H. Larsson, P. Lichtenstein, S.E. Bergen, "Association of Youth Depression With Subsequent Somatic Diseases and Premature Death", JAMA Psychiatry, December 2020.



Radio Interview and Podcast

Broadcast date: February 1, 2021

Depression in adolescents, Health Report with Dr Norman Swan, Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC Radio National

Guest: Marica Leone, Researcher (PhD Student) in Psychiatric Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute, Sweden

Host: Norman Swan

Producer: James Bullen

Duration: 8min 3sec

Listen the Podcast in ABCD Radio Page:

Listen the Podcast here:

New York Times

Publication date: December 14, 2020

Original source: Depression in Childhood Tied to Physical Illnesses in Young Adulthood

By Nicholas Bakalar

Youths with depression had elevated risks of liver disease, thyroid illness and other problems in their 20s.
Children and adolescents diagnosed with depression may be at increased risk for physical diseases and premature death as young adults, researchers report...


Press release by Karolinska Institutet

Publication date: December 9, 2020

Original source: Youth depression tied to higher risk of 66 diseases and premature death

Read the press release here.

Depressed children and teenagers have an increased risk of suffering from premature death and a wide range of illnesses later in life. That is according to a large observational study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The findings highlight the need to look for other potential diseases following childhood or adolescent depression. Other psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety and substance misuse, can explain part of the association. The study is published in JAMA Psychiatry.

“Our study shows that children and teenagers diagnosed with depression have a significantly higher risk of premature death, self-harm, and suffering from other diseases later in life” says Sarah E. Bergen (picture below) senior researcher at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, and corresponding author of the study. “It underscores how important it is that these children and teenagers receive the help they need and that medical personnel monitor for subsequent psychiatric and somatic diseases.”

Depression is rarely diagnosed in young children but increases in prevalence through the teenage years. Previous studies have linked depression in adolescents to an increased risk of several adverse outcomes, including atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and premature death. Other psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety and substance use disorder, are also commonly linked.

In this study, the researchers wanted to examine whether depression at an early age might be associated with a wide spectrum of diseases diagnosed later in life. They also examined how other psychiatric conditions affected the association and whether youth depression heightened the risk of premature death.

Included 1.5 million people

The researchers followed almost 1.5 million Swedish girls and boys, of whom more than 37,000 were diagnosed with depression at least once between the ages of 5 and 19. When the research concluded, they were between 17 and 31 years old.

The study found that children and teenagers with depression had a higher risk of being diagnosed with 66 out of 69 examined medical conditions, including sleep disorders, type 2 diabetes, viral hepatitis, and kidney and liver diseases. Compared to those without depression, they also had a significantly higher risk of injuries, especially injuries inflicted by self-harm, and an almost six-fold higher risk of premature death.

Sex differences

The findings also revealed sex differences. For example, women with early onset depression were more likely to suffer injuries as well as urinary, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to have obesity, thyroid gland problems, coeliac disease, connective tissue disorders and eczema.

Part of the association may be explained by other co-existing psychiatric conditions, especially substance use disorder and anxiety, which have previously been linked to risk increases for certain medical outcomes. These psychiatric conditions often appear in the same patient and therefore more studies are needed to examine the specific effect of each condition, according to the researchers.

“We need more research to understand the causality between depression and other diseases,” says Marica Leone (picture below) PhD candidate at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet, and first author of the study.“Currently, we cannot say whether depression leads to an increased risk of negative health effects or whether there are other underlying factors that lead to increased risks for both depression and the diseases examined in this study. Therefore, it is important to investigate how these processes affect each other and whether we, through discovery of these disease mechanisms, can find targets for intervention and treatment to improve overall health.”

The research has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Some of the authors have reported conflicts of interest: Marica Leone is an employee of Johnson & Johnson, Henrik Larsson has received personal fees from Shire/Takeda and Evolan outside the submitted work and Amy Leval is an employee of and owns stock in Johnson & Johnson.

Get in Touch!


Prof. Christel Middeldorp, project coordinator

VU University Amsterdam
Dept. of Biological Psychology
email : c.m.middeldorp(at)

Natascha Stroo, project manager
VU University Amsterdam
Dept. of Biological Psychology
email : natascha.stroo(at)

Matteo Mauri, web & dissemination manager
University of Cagliari
email : matteo.mauri(at)

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