Depression & Inflammation Linked: More Evidence Shows Relationship in Brain

depression and inflammation linked

Treating depression can be a tricky thing, and unfortunately, not all forms of depression respond well (or at all) to traditional treatments. But, a recent study may provide some surprising insight into one of the driving factors in depression.

According to this study, depression and inflammation are linked. More evidence regarding this connection was published in a November 2015, edition of Molecular Psychiatry. The study indicated that approximately one-third of people experiencing depression have high levels of inflammation markers in their blood. As a result, some suffer from anhedonia which is defined as the inability to experience pleasure and can even persist in some patients who take antidepressants.

Jennifer Felger, PhD, who is the Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute, gave this insight:

“Some patients taking antidepressants continue to suffer from anhedonia,” Felger says. “Our data suggest that by blocking inflammation or its effects on the brain, we may be able to reverse anhedonia and help depressed individuals who fail to respond to antidepressants.”

The study was comprised of 48 patients who experienced depression. It was found that an inflammatory marker was connected with the inability of different regions of the brain to communicate. Neuroscientists could determine when parts of the brain were communicating because those parts of the brain lit up at the same time. Magnetic resonance imaging was the process that was used in this study. The inflammatory marker CRP (C-reactive protein) was in high supply in those patients who lacked connectivity, and in low supply in those patients whose brains showed connectivity.

Patients with high CRP levels were found to be correlated to experiencing anhedonia and exhibited the inability to enjoy everyday activities, including time spent with friends and family. The patients being tested were not on antidepressants or other medications during the tests in order to control for outside factors and ensure the findings were reliable. BMI (body mass index) adjustments were made to the findings which still remained stable. High inflammatory levels continued to be related to depression.

A previous study had found that those who had high inflammation and depression responded well to an anti-inflammatory antibody. More studies are planned to further uncover how to reduce and improve inflammation and the associated depression. More research is also underway to investigate the effects of reduced inflammation in treating hepatitis C, Parkinson’s disease, and even cancer. In the meantime, it would be a good idea to incorporate practices with respect to diet and lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation in the elderly in the likely event that they will provide overall benefits to their health.

At David York Agency, we work hard to remain aware and up-to-date of all issues related to the elderly and disabled in order to provide the highest degree of personal service to our clients. Depression affects people of all ages, but can often go unrecognized or undiagnosed in the elderly. If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, it is imperative that you seek the help of a professional.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.