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Monday, 23 April, 2001, 03:47 GMT 04:47 UK
Psyche influences recovery
Broken hip
Scientists studied hip fracture
People who suffer from psychiatric conditions are more likely to die within two years of suffering a hip fracture, researchers have found.

The finding illustrates just what an important role state of mind can play in recovery from a physical injury.

A team from the University of Leeds assessed the psychiatric status of 731 people who had broken their hip.

They found that people who were suffering from dementia, delirium and depression were all much more likely to die within two years of the physical injury.

People with dementia or delirium were more likely to die within the first six months, while depression appeared to take longer to have an effect.

Writing in the medical journal The Lancet, the researchers say that people who have suffered a broken hip should be psychiatrically assessed, and offered support and treatment if necessary.

Psychiatric link

Number of people alive after two years
56 out of 93 depressed people (60%)
46 out of 108 with delirium (43%)
113 out of 294 with dementia (38%)
148 out of 208 who were psychiatrically well (71%)
Researcher Dr John Holmes said: "Our findings confirm what is not widely appreciated: that psychiatric illnesses have important effects in physical conditions."

The researchers found that death rates varied greatly between hospitals.

They believe part of this difference can be explained by varying rates of detection and treatment of psychiatric illness.

Dr Holmes said: "This highlights the potential value to medical and surgical services of ready access to psychiatric staff."

He said nobody knew exactly how state of mind influenced physical recovery.

But he said: "It may be that depression may entail some kind of sense of giving up so that people are not motivated to get themselves better.

"Depression has also been linked to cardiovascular problems.

"Both delirium and dementia are linked to memory impairment and it might be possible that people with these conditions have problems with effective rehabilitation."

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