MAR 14, 2019 1:00 PM PDT

Exploring the Link Between Infection and Mental Illness: Results From Nationwide Studies

Presented at: Neuroscience 2019
C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
  • Aarhus University and Copenhagen University Hospitals, Denmark; Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University
      Ole Köhler-Forsberg is an MD-PhD candidate investigating the role of the immune system and inflammatory processes in the etiology, subgrouping, and treatment response of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. His work includes register-based studies on infections and mental disorders, clinical data on inflammatory markers in patients with severe mental disorders and meta-analyses on anti-inflammatory intervention in depression and schizophrenia. He is affiliated with Aarhus University and Copenhagen University Hospitals in Denmark. Presently, he is working with Prof. Andrew Nierenberg at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University in Boston.


    This presentation will present findings from studies based on Danish nationwide registers investigating the link between all treated infections and the risk of mental disorders. The studies were based on the entire Danish population (approximately 5.5million) and had detailed information on infections leading to hospital contacts and infections treated with anti-infective agents in the primary sector. The studies investigated the risk for severe mental disorders, ranging from childhood and adolescence mental disorders, affective disorders, schizophrenia, to suicidal behavior. Mechanisms potentially explaining the findings will be discussed and include direct effects of the infections and inflammatory processes on the brain, confounding aspects due to the observational study design, genetic factors or detrimental effects due to the anti-infective treatment.

    Learning Objectives: 

    1. Infections are associated with an increased risk of subsequent development of severe mental illness. 
    2. These findings may be explained by direct and indirect effects of the infection on the brain, effects of the anti-infective treatment, genetics, or confounding factors due to the observational nature of our studies.

    Show Resources
    Show Resources