As a new intriguing study emerges, we learn that depression could have a core feature that scientists apparently didn’t really think about it before.Â
The new paper offers proof that people diagnosed with depression have protein in their blood to stimulate the inflammatory system. Based on an analysis of 85,895 participants, researchers found that inflammation could really be a core trait of depression.
Here is what you need to know.
Inflammation and Depression: a Deep, Unseen Connection
Collecting genetic data, blood samples, and physical and mental health data as part of the UK Biobank project, researchers analysed factors such as age, body mass index (BMI), sex, experiencing early life trauma, drinking alcohol, smoking, and socioeconomic status.Â
Researchers also calculated how likely someone is to develop a condition such as depression based on those factors and genetics.
“Our study highlights how genetics can be used as a tool for dissecting mental health disorders,” explains Cathryn Lewis, a genetic epidemiologist from King’s College London.
As per researchers’ findings, the genetic contribution to inflammation in depression is influenced mainly by eating and smoking habits.
Inflammation is one of our bodies’ essential defenses against various attacks. If we don’t control it, inflammation can become a considerable concern, causing a lot of damage.
The researchers looked for something known as C-reactive protein (CRP) in participants’ blood.Â
CRP is an inflammation biomarker, and researchers discovered it in higher amounts in approximately 31 % of participants who had dealing with MDD (major depressive disorder) in their levels at some point.
While the new study offers intriguing data about inflammation and how is it linked to depression, researchers still have to figure more things out. If we have a better understanding of what triggers depression, we might finally be able to target whatever the cause is with precise treatments.
Remember that there are millions of people worldwide who suffer from depression. Maybe it’s someone from your family or a colleague, and you don’t know. Be supportive and kind. Always.