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Health Reports

Depression and work impairment

By Heather Gilmour, Health Statistics Division, Statistics Canada, and Scott B. Patten, Departments of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry, University of Calgary

In 2002, almost 4% of employed people aged 25 to 64 had had an episode of depression in the previous year.  Cross-sectional analysis indicates that these workers had high odds of reducing work activity because of  a long-term health condition, having at least one mental health disability day in the past two weeks, and being absent from work in the past week.  Longitudinally, depression was associated with reduced work activity and disability days two years later.

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Medically unexplained physical symptoms

By Jungwee Park, Statistics Canada, and Sarah Knudson, University of Toronto

A substantial number of Canadians report symptoms of conditions that cannot be definitively identified through physical examination or medical testing.  Known as “medically unexplained physical symptoms,” or “MUPS,” they characterize conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivity. The lack of consistent explanations from physical and laboratory assessments has caused confusion and controversy about these conditions.  Many people, including some health care professionals, do not believe that these conditions exist, attributing the symptoms to a variety of other causes. However, for the people who are affected, the symptoms are real and frequently debilitating.

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