Is depression caused by biological causes, like certain diseases or infections? A group of Canadian researchers believe to have found a link between the inflammation of the brain which is caused by different illness and depression.
The new Canadian study, has performed its first steps but it has provided scientists enough information to detect the cause of the disease. They might have managed to explain why the body of 30 to 50% of the patients suffering from depression are irresponsive to medication.
The study, published in the journal, JAMA Psychiatry, questions whether eradicating the inflammation could also eradicate depression.
Scientists from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health from Toronto, have made a comparison between the brain scans of 20 patients who have been diagnosed with clinical depression and the brains of 20 people without depression. The results, showed that the patients suffering from depression had presented around 30% more inflammation of the brain, than those who were mentally healthy. Results have also shown, that the more severe the inflammation of the brain was, the more aggravating were the symptoms of depression.
The inflammation of the brain, would be a response of the immune system to trauma and different infections. This process is involved in several types of disease, and data has proved that people suffering from certain inflammatory illnesses, have increased chances of developing depression, explained in a news report,doctor, Jeffrey Meyer from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
On the other hand, doctor Margaret McKinnon, neuropsychologist at the St.Joseph Healthcare, claimed that there is a need for broader studies to be able to confirm the connection between the inflammation of the brain and depression.
She raised an important question, whether the inflammation of the brain occurs before depression or is a consequence of it. Nevertheless she recognized the study was a very important break trough, being the first one showing inflammation happening inside the brain.
Scientists have already started experiments in which they are testing to see if certain foods and physical exercise can reduce the inflammation and if anti inflammatory medication would be one day, used as anti depressants. This could totally change the perspective of how doctors would look at depression in a matter of a few years.
Statistics have shown that up to twenty one million Americans suffer from depression, and present medication doesn’t seem to be very effective.
Image Source: Miami University
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