Association of Blood Lead Levels with the Risk of Depressive Symptoms in the Elderly Chinese Population: Baseline Data of a Cohort Study.


School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, People's Republic of China. [Email]


Previous studies have reported an association between blood lead (BPb) levels and depressive symptoms in adults. However, the relationship between BPb levels and depression remains unclear in the old population. Our purpose was to investigate the association of BPb levels with depression among the old population. Data were gathered from 994 elderly persons in the Cohort Study of Elderly Health and Environmental Controllable Factors, which was created in Anhui, China. BPb was measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Our subjects were divided into four groups according to BPb quartiles. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to assess the association between BPb levels and depression. The median (25th-75th) BPb level was 26.94 μg/L (20.34 μg/L-36.13 μg/L). BPb levels in participants with depression were higher than those in participants without depression. The prevalence of depression was 27.64%. After multivariate adjustment for confounding factors, participants with BPb level in the highest quartile had 2.03 times higher risk of depression compared with those in the lowest quartile. In rural areas, the risk of depression in higher BPb quartile was higher than that in the lowest quartile. These findings suggest that higher BPb level was associated with increased odds of depression in the old population. This association was obvious among older people living in rural areas.


A cohort study,Blood lead levels,Depressive symptoms,GDS-30,Old population,