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Causal links between sedentary behavior, physical activity, and psychiatric disorders: a Mendelian randomization study.

BACKGROUND: Studies suggest a correlation between excessive sedentary behavior, insufficient physical activity, and an elevated likelihood of experiencing psychiatric disorder. Nonetheless, the precise influence of sedentary behavior and physical activity on psychiatric disorder remains uncertain. Hence, the objective of this research was to investigate the possible causal relationship between sedentary behavior, physical activity, and the susceptibility to psychiatric disorder (depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), utilizing a two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) approach.

METHODS: Potential genetic instruments related to sedentary leisure behaviors were identified from the UK Biobank database, specifically a summary-level genome-wide association study (GWAS) involving 422,218 individuals of European descent. The UK Biobank database also provided the GWAS data for physical activity. Primary analysis was performed using inverse variance weighting (IVW) to assess the causal relationship between sedentary behavior, physical activity, and the risk of psychiatric disorder (depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). Sensitivity analysis was conducted using Cochran's Q test, the MR-Egger intercept test, the MR-pleiotropy RESidual sum and outlier test, leave-one-out analysis, and funnel plot analysis.

RESULTS: According to the IVW analysis, there was a significant association between genetically predicted leisure television watching and an increased risk of depression (odds ratio [OR] = 1.027, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.001-1.053; P = 0.04). The IVW analysis also indicated that there was a decreased risk of depression associated with fraction accelerations of > 425 milligravities, as measured by accelerometers (OR = 0.951, 95%CI: 0.914-0.989; P = 0.013). The other MR methods obtained consistent but non-significant results in the same direction. However, there was no evidence of a causal association between genetic liability for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, accelerometer-assessed physical activity, computer use, or driving and the risk of depression. Furthermore, IVW analysis has also found that driving has a slight effect in reducing the risk of schizophrenia (OR = 0.092, 95%CI: 0.010-0.827; P = 0.033), while leisure television viewing has a significant protective effect against the onset of bipolar disorder (OR = 0.719, 95%CI: 0.567-0.912; P = 0.006).

CONCLUSION: The study provides compelling evidence of a link between depression, bipolar disorder, and excessive TV watching. Furthermore, it suggests that higher accelerometer-assessed fraction accelerations of > 425 milligravities can serve as a genetic protective factor against depression. To mitigate the risk of developing depression, it is advisable to reduce sedentary activities, particularly television watching, and prioritize engaging in vigorous physical exercise.

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