According to the BBC and Doctors “one of the strongest discoveries in psychiatry for the last 20 years” is allowing us to understand and treat depression more effectively. Its being called a revolution.
Basically, this new understanding is based around the idea that the immune system is actually altering the brain – which could be causing depression. The bodies sole defense system turning again its habitat the cause it to suffer from depression and other negative feelings/illnesses such as anxiety etc.
Professor Ed Bullmore say’s something that I agree with 100%
“Recent history is telling us if we want to make therapeutic breakthroughs in an area which remains incredibly important in terms of disability and suffering then we’ve got to think differently.”
The belief is that an errant immune system (straying from the regular path)is causing inflammation within the body which in turn, is altering the moods of the individual.
He uses a fantastic example of when we get the cold or flu. We all do it, we all know that when we become sick our mood drops, we become tired, irritable and just feel low, all of which are characteristics of depression. But once we’re better, we’re back to ourselves again. He suggests that rather than us thinking “oh I am sick, therefore this is sad“, it’s not actually ‘us’ causing this negative effect, but instead it is chemicals within us which involved in inflammation and that is directly affecting our mood.
So, linking this to Arthritis, that is a disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints and causes inflammation (can you see where I am going with this?). What doctors done was give patients precise anti-inflammatory drugs to obviously help calm down specific areas of the immune response. And guess what? It resulted in mode improvements.
However, it gets more wacky. Obviously they seen a rapid increase in a sense of well-being and happiness for the patients but not because they were in less pain.. what was going on?
After further studies they found that the anti-inflammatory medication was entering the brain and actually changing the chemical balance of the brain by interrupting the production of Serotonin – which is a major neurotransmitter that links to the individuals mood. Further more Doctor’s discovered that not only are depressed patients more likely to have high levels of inflammation which causes their mood changes, but those with an overactive immune system (like people with Arthritis) are also less likely to respond to antidepressants.
But have no fear, this is what the Professor has to say to that in response:
“We think by measuring inflammation in the blood we’ll actually be able to identify individuals that do require more complex, intensive antidepressant treatment, maybe a combination of an antidepressant and anti-inflammatory.”
So there you have it, our own immune system can turn against us and make us more susceptible to becoming depressed and anti-inflammatory medications can help change that on a chemical level to make us more ‘ourselves’ again. Weird and wonderful stuff.
Prof Pariante concludes:
“It is groundbreaking because, for the first time, we are demonstrating that depression is not only a disorder of the mind, in fact it is not even only a disorder of the brain, it is a disorder of the whole body.”
No better way to end.
Now that was only a snapshot of the whole article so if you would like to read the full thing and learn more than please, follow the link below. I hope you enjoyed the read!
Blog you later »