Cat Bites and Human Depression [The Data Miners’ Tale]

This study presents a cheery attempt to see if cat bites lead to human depression (or maybe vice versa):

Describing the Relationship between Cat Bites and Human Depression Using Data from an Electronic Health Record,” David A. Hanauer [pictured here], Naren Ramakrishnan, Lisa S. Seyfried, PLoS One. 2013 Aug 1;8(8):e70585. (Thanks to Constanza Villalba for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Michigan and Virginia Tech, explain:

david_hanauer_photo“we first used administrative diagnosis codes to identify patients with either depression or bites, drawn from a population of 1.3 million patients. We then conducted a manual chart review in the electronic health record of all patients with a code for a bite to accurately determine which were from cats or dogs. Overall there were 750 patients with cat bites, 1,108 with dog bites, and approximately 117,000 patients with depression. Depression was found in 41.3% of patients with cat bites and 28.7% of those with dog bites. Furthermore, 85.5% of those with both cat bites and depression were women, compared to 64.5% of those with dog bites and depression. The probability of a woman being diagnosed with depression at some point in her life if she presented to our health system with a cat bite was 47.0%, compared to 24.2% of men presenting with a similar bite.”

Here’s detail from the study: