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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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The significant role of educational status in PKU patients: the beneficial effect of psychological support in depression

Kostas Iakovou / Kleopatra Schulpis
Published Online: 2019-03-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0233



Classical Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a metabolic disease characterized by high phenylalanine (phe) levels in blood and brain. PKU patients are commonly treated with low phe diet supplemented with amino acid free formula. High Phe levels minimize brain tryptophan concentration, the pressure of serotonin, which is responsible for the appearance of depression symptoms. Both amino acids share the same pathway for entering CNS via BBB. Aimed to determine the effect of psychological support on different education status depressed PKU patients via adherence to their diet.


PKU patients (n = 110) were divided into groups according to their education status: Primary school, High school, University degree. All patients were tasted with a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) standardized for Greek population. Psychological support was performed in every depressed patient ones per two weeks for three successive months under the same conditions. Phe blood levels were measured before psychological support and every 15–20 days till the end of the study.


Only 2/110 (1.8%) participance had finished Primary school and were healthy. 72/110 (65.5%) High School, out of them 29 were depressed and 36/110 (32.7%) achieved a University degree, only 6 suffered from depression. High phe blood levels were measured in the depressed patients, which dropped near to normal after the end of their psychological support. Referring to depression symptoms, all participance except one presented amelioration of their mood.


Psychological support is beneficial on depressed PKU patients graduated with High School or University degree via adherence to their special diet.

Keywords: depression; dietary treatment; education status; phenylketonuria; psychological support


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About the article

Received: 2018-10-04

Accepted: 2018-10-09

Published Online: 2019-03-19

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20180233, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0233.

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