Treating depression can be a tricky thing. 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 elderly depression.
Depression & Inflammation
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. Anhedonia is the inability to experience pleasure and can even persist in some patients who take antidepressants.
Jennifer Felger, Ph.D. is the Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She works out of Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute. She found that those suffering from depression have high levels of inflammation markers in their blood. Moreover, she goes on to say:
“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 included 48 patients who experienced depression. It connected an inflammatory marker to different regions of the brain that were not able to communicate. Neuroscientists could determine when parts of the brain were communicating. Specifically, they could see those parts of the brain lit up at the same time. The study used the process of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The inflammatory marker CRP (C-reactive protein) was in high supply in those patients who lacked connectivity. Conversely, they were in low supply in those patients whose brains showed connectivity.
Inability To Experience Pleasure
Findings showed that patients with high CRP levels were more likely to experience anhedonia. They also were unable 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. Moreover, findings remained stable even after making BMI (body mass index) adjustments. High inflammatory levels continued to be related to treating depression.
Inflammation Previously Identified
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 in treating 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 certain healthy practices into your life. For example, there are diet and lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation in the elderly. It is likely that they will provide overall benefits to their health.
Professionals Can Help
At David York Agency, we work hard to remain aware and up-to-date of all issues related to the elderly and disabled such as treating depression 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. We would be happy 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, or LinkedIn.