Depression Linked To Inflammation In The Brain, Study Finds

Scientists in Canada have indicated that they’ve made a major breakthrough in depression research with a new study, in which researchers have found a connection between inflammation deep in the brain and patients who suffer from depression.

The research is still in an early stage; however, it provides scientists with a possible alternative cause for the ailment. This alternative helps explain why 30 to 50 percent of patients afflicted with the mood disorder, which is categorized by a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest, don’t respond to prescription medications.

The study, which was published Wednesday in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, indicates that researchers believe their findings are significant and that they raise the question of whether eliminating inflammation would eliminate depression.

Researchers from Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) compared brain scans from 20 patients diagnosed with clinical depression to those of 20 people without depression, and they discovered that those with depression had an average of 30 percent more inflammation within their brains. They also discovered that the more inflamed the brain, the more severe the patient’s symptoms of depression were.

Dr. Jeffrey Meyer of CAMH explained that inflammation is how the body’s immune system responds to infections and trauma. It’s implicated in a range of illnesses, and statistics show that people certain inflammatory diseases, such as lupus, are several times more likely to develop clinical depression, CTV News reported.

Neuropsychologist Dr. Margaret McKinnon, of St. Joseph’s Healthcare, indicated that the findings in the study must be replicated in a much larger study in order to confirm the link between depression and inflammation of the brain. She said that there’s a question which still remains unanswered, and that’s whether or not the “neuro-inflammation occurs before depression” or as a result of it. Regardless, she indicated that the “it’s a very important finding” because it’s the first study to show inflammation inside the brain.

Researchers have already begun to conduct trials in which they’re testing whether exercise and specific foods can aid in reducing inflammation, and whether anti-inflammatory drugs will one day be capable of serving as anti-depressants. Dr. Meyer indicated that the research may change how doctors approach depression in just a matter of a few years, possibly within the three to five-year range.

The Huffington Post reports that there are a number of factors which may have a role in the development of depression. These factors include influences of the genetic, environmental, psychological, biological, and emotional nature. The report also indicates that one integrative neuroscientist has said that depression could even be a form of infection disease.

Inquisitr reported that researchers have discovered a link between a vitamin D deficiency, depression, and seasonal affective disorder.

Do you suffer from depression? If so, do you think it may be as a result of inflammation or do you think inflammation is merely a symptom of the depression? Either way, do you think treating brain inflammation can treat clinical depression?