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Gender Differences in Studies of Thyroid Function and Major Depression
   
CITATION:  MacQueen, G.M. and Joffe, R.T.  (2002). A Review of Gender Differences in Studies of Thyroid Function and Major Depression. Psychiatric Annals; Aug 32, 8.

ABSTRACT:   Women have a greater lifetime risk of depression than men, and they appear to be more vulnerable to mood changes during times of known hormonal fluctuation, such as the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle,' the postpartum period,'- and possibly during menopause.3 Women also have an increased vulnerability to thyroid disease when significant hormonal adjustments occur.' Additionally, thyroid illness is commonly known to induce mood symptoms.' This has led to considerable study on the relationship between depression, sex, and thyroid function, with a number of studies highlighting differences between depressed men and women on both response to thyroid challenge during depression and use of thyroid hormones as adjunctive treatments in depression. It has also led to interest in the possible association of thyroid dysfunction and depression related to women's reproductive phases, such as late luteal phase disorder and postpartum depression. Studies examining these relationships are reviewed below.

The strongest data for an association between sex, thyroid function, and depression are found in TRH stimulation studies (where men more often demonstrate a blunted response) and in T3 acceleration studies, in which women are more likely to respond if T3 supplements an antidepressant at initiation.

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