There is a link between brain inflammation and depression, says a new study. The research was conducted at Toronto’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) with a small group of 20 people with depression and 20 more who didn’t have any depression. Even though the research is in nascent stages, this is considered as a significant development as it gives more insight into the condition and possible more treatment methods.
So a cure now possible?
There is no way to say how this breakthrough information can impact the treatment of depression in the future. The study revealed that those subjects suffered from depression had up to 30% more brain inflammations. The amount of inflammation was also directly related to the severity of the condition. Now the real question is whether a treatment for inflammation would help patients with depression.
Previous studies in this regard have revealed that inflammation in the brain caused due to some physical illnesses led to depression. But this new study led by Dr. Jeffrey Meyer is the first to show that inflammation without any physical cause can also cause depression.
Inflammation is brain’s natural response for protection against certain injuries or conditions; but inflammation for longer periods is a cause of worry in itself. But when looked at the links between inflammation and depression it surely gives scientists a way forward for more studies that might lead to a cure for some cases of depression if not all.
The inflammations might also suggest why certain patients do not react to antidepressants or any drugs used for their treatment. The future studies now need to focus if anti-inflammation medicines work to reduce symptoms of depression in patients or ease the symptoms at all.
This is also a breakthrough research as it gives scientists more ways to treat clinical depression. Anti-inflammatory foods and drugs can both be used in the future studies to see if they provide any help for patients with depression. If all goes well there might as well be a cure for depression in the near future.
What comes first?
Now this is the question that the scientists are asking to understand if depression causes inflammation in the brain or inflammation is just one more factor that causes depression. A previous study in 2012 by researchers at Duke University precisely concluded that it is quite possible for depression to cause the inflammation rather than the other way round.
There has also been some past evidence to suggest that diseases like lupus, which cause inflammation in the brain, also lead the patients to suffer from depression in the future. Researchers are also considering the possibility that inflammation in the brain from certain trauma can remain unhealed and could cause depression. But most scientists agree that nothing can be confirmed as yet as this was a very small group and just one study so far. The study now needs to be conducted on a much larger scale for it to be considered conclusive. And maybe future research can throw more light on the ‘inflammation first or depression’ debate.