From Science Daily:
Chronic inflammation in the bloodstream can ‘fan the flames’ of depression, much like throwing gasoline on a fire, according to a new paper from researchers at Rice University and Ohio State University.
‘Inflammation: Depression Fans the Flames and Feasts on the Heat’ appeared in a recent edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study reviewed 200 existing papers on depression and inflammation.
“In the health area of psychology at Rice, we’re very focused on the intersection of health behavior, psychology and medicine,” said Christopher Fagundes, an assistant professor of psychology and co-author of the paper. “One thing that we’re particularly interested in is how stress affects the immune system, which in turn affects diseases and mental health outcomes, the focus of this paper.”
The authors found that in addition to being linked to numerous physical health issues, including cancer and diabetes, systemic inflammation is linked to mental health issues such as depression. Among patients suffering from clinical depression, concentrations of two inflammatory markers, CRP and IL-6, were elevated by up to 50 percent.
Fagundes said chronic inflammation is most common in individuals who have experienced stress in their lives, including lower socio-economic status or those who experienced abuse or neglect as children. Other contributing factors are a high-fat diet and high body mass index.
“Previous research shows that individuals who have socio-economic issues or had problems in their early lives are already at higher risk for mental issues because of these stresses in their lives,” Fagundes said. “As a…