From the Guardian:
Both cytokines and inflammation have been shown to rocket during depressive episodes, and – in people with bipolar – to drop off in periods of remission. Healthy people can also be temporarily put into a depressed, anxious state when given a vaccine that causes a spike in inflammation. Brain imaging studies of people injected with a typhoid vaccine found that this might be down to changes in the parts of the brain that process reward and punishment.
It seems the more we learn about the world the more we realize mental things are in the body and body things are in the mind.
This new one with depression is fascinating, though.
They’re basically saying that inflammation could be the culprit, and they’ve got pretty good evidence.
One of my favorite illustrations was this simple bit:
Don’t people feel depressed when they’re sick? And doesn’t it usually go away when you get better? Well, what if those were easily explained by a third actor?
I wonder how many other things we’ll soon discover like this, where a simply physical behavior is the cause of all manner of complex mental issues. The first thing that comes to mind is genes, and we’re already working on that, but even smaller things like this will make a big difference.
If this turns out to be legit I wonder how long until we have new depression treatments based on it.