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[Fascinating] Depression: An Evolutionary Byproduct of Immune System?

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Waverunner, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    There is actually a small study having tested infliximab for depression in patients with AS:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21079965/

    Some effect on depression was found, although the effects did not correlate with any physiological markers of inflammation. Placebo?
  2. Bob

    Bob

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    Could you keep us updated with any developments with that trial please FancyMyBlood, if you are able to? It would be very interesting if they have had any success.
  3. FancyMyBlood

    FancyMyBlood Senior Member

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    Who knows. The clinical trial I referenced is placebo-controlled and measures more inflammatory markers (the study you referenced had no control froup and only measured ESR and CRP).

  4. Bob

    Bob

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    Just because there are some similarities in the inflammatory abnormalities, it doesn't mean that the two illnesses have share identical processes/pathways or that the two illnesses have the same underlying causes.
    I don't think science yet knows much about the immune system, and the human body, and what makes it malfunction.
    I think we only have a shallow understanding.
    For example, we don't understand Parkinson's disease, arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Bi-polar depression etc. etc. etc.
  5. FancyMyBlood

    FancyMyBlood Senior Member

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    Sure, I don't think it will take too long until it gets published. I'll definitely update this thread when I notice the paper is published ( if no one has already).

    Btw, you can check it yourself too by searching Pubmed for "Miller AH"[Author] infliximab
  6. Bob

    Bob

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    Thank you :thumbsup:
  7. FancyMyBlood

    FancyMyBlood Senior Member

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    You're welcome. :)

    I was just searching for some previous papers from this author and I stumbled upon a recent interesting one:

  8. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    You don't differentiate. In otherwise healthy people, depression can be caused by a traumatic event for example. Of course it involves the same inflammatory pathways as in other diseases where people suffer from depression but the cause for the inflammatory process is the traumatic event. If the burden/stress of the traumatic event can be lowered through CBT, this will improve the depression. What traumatic event do you want to treat in CFS, there is none!

    As I said there is no traumatic cause of the inflammatory process in CFS, so what do you want to treat with CBT? Exercise lowers all sorts of inflammatory processes in otherwise healthy people. I addition to that it works as a natural anti-depressant by stimulating neurotransmitter release. You know that it's impossible for many PWCs to exercise, so it makes no sense to bring it up. If someone suffers from depression and can exercise, this should improve his situation. If someone suffers from a severe disease like CFS, exercise is no option unfortunately.

    Antidepressants have been around for a long time and every psychologist knows that an imbalance or lack of neurotransmitters drives depression but this says nothing about the general consensus. I studied psychology for two semester and every professor had the same credo: In the short run we use antidepressants and exercise to alleviate the symptoms of our patients, in the long run psychotherapy is the only causative cure.

    Of course these people acknowledged the existence of biochemical involvement, but they saw this rather as a consequence of the underlying traumatic event and not as symptom of another physical disease that is not caused by a stressful event. This thinking slowly changes, thanks to studies like this.

    If you use these definitions of sickness behavior and depression, then of course CFS would fall into the first group. In the end however your definitions do not exist. The word depression does not make statements about the cause. Depression can be caused by infection and it can be caused by a traumatic event, it's still depression. The same way as it doesn't matter if I break my leg in a car accident or when I fall down the stairs, in both cases it's still called a broken leg.
  9. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Makes sense to me this thinking - I don't recall depression (of the fed up type except now and again) but what is termed "clinical" depression when all systems slow to a virtual standstill. At that stage the body is conserving energies to fight off infections. I think the word depression is much misused (chiefly psyches who know no better). The word needs far better clarification than currently used.
  10. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hmmmm, is it a coincidence that sickness behaviour occurs in people who are sick? Who have infections like TB or polio? Maybe depression and sickness behaviour are extreme ends of a spectrum? If so, as pointed out in this thread, conserving energy helps fight the infection. Severe fever does something similar.

    What sets ME apart is neurological damage, although there is now growing evidence of autoantibodies that can attack the nervous system in depression (Maes).

    Bye, Alex
  11. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    The article essentially equates depression with sickness behavior. And that, I believe, is wrong. Exercise improve depression, but it doesn't improve sickness behavior. For that, rest is needed. So in my view, they cannot be the same. Sickness behavior is also an acute state, whereas depression is prolonged. Sickness behavior is a healthy immune response, whereas depression is pathological.

    Remember also, that although you refer to the article as a study, it really isn't. It's a hypothesis. The idea that depression is the immune system on high alert, anticipating a coming immune insult, makes no sense to me. The immune system is much less efficient this way. People with depression are much more prone to infections than healthy people, and have a shorter lifespan. To have prolonged inflammatory response is detrimental to health. A healthy immune system makes a strong response to immune insults, and then calms down quickly. Low baseline inflammation promotes health. Depression is essentially a prolonged inflammatory state, very detrimental to health.

    Depression also don't need a traumatic event to trigger it. Genetic factors combine with environmental insults to create depression, just as in most other diseases. Depression is likely a neurodegenerative disorder. Prolonged environmental insult (stress) leads to neurogeneration. Sickness behavior is not a neurodegenerative disorder, because it is an acute response to infection. Unless the sickness behavior becomes chronic as in CFS. In that case neurodegeneration is likely involved.
  12. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    I completely agree that depression is not healthy, although it may increase the chances of survival in some situations. The sooner we find working treatments and the sooner we have a better understanding of the inflammatory mechanisms behind it, the better.
  13. FancyMyBlood

    FancyMyBlood Senior Member

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    The paper was published last month! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22945416

    The results are not really mind-blowing but might be hopeful for depressed people with hs-CRP. It certainly points to an immune component in a subset of depressed people, but the sample size is pretty small. More studies are now needed...
    Bob likes this.
  14. Bob

    Bob

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    Oh, wow, you remembered my request from so long ago! :)

    Thanks very much for that! :thumbsup:

    And thanks for the comments about it.

    I'll read it a little later.
    FancyMyBlood likes this.
  15. FancyMyBlood

    FancyMyBlood Senior Member

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    Interestingly, dr. Miller also published a paper* about cytokine effects on the basal ganglia and dopamine function. In light of the recent CDC findings regarding the involvement of the basal ganglia in ME/CFS, this paper is probably very relevant for us.

    I'll give it an own topic after I've read the fulltext.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23000204
    merylg and Bob like this.
  16. FancyMyBlood

    FancyMyBlood Senior Member

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    I just noticed it was published and automatically remember you asked for it. It seems my long(er)-term memory is not really effected afterall :D
  17. Bob

    Bob

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    I remember some thinks absolutely fine, but I completely forget some stuff in a rather scary way! :eek:

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