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Strong correlation found between infection and mood disorders


Senior Member
Researchers have found that every third person who is diagnosed for the first time with a mood disorder had been admitted to hospital with an infection prior to the diagnosis.

Researcher Michael Eriksen Benrós, from Aarhus University, says the results lend strength to the idea that the immune system is intimately linked to mental health.

The study involved following more than 3 million Danes. Between 1977 and 2010, more than 91,000 Danes had hospital contact in connection with a mood disorder. It transpired that 32% of the patients had previously been admitted with an infectious disease,

More info:

Striking correlation found between infection and mood disorders

Infections Linked to Mood Disorders Like Depression, Bipolar? | Psych Central News

People Hospitalized For Infections Are 62% More Likely To Develop A Mood Disorder


Senior Member
The same is true for IBD. Having an infection or suffering from a food poisoning can increase the chances of getting IBD 25 fold.


Senior Member
There are various studies looking at the use of minocycline (an antibiotic) in the treatment of mood disorders. I don't know how this relates to infection.

Minocycline: therapeutic potential in psychiatry.
Olivia M Dean, João Data-Franco, Francesco Giorlando, Michael Berk
Deakin University, School of Medicine, Barwon Health, Geelong, VIC, Australia. oliviad@barwonhealth.org.au
Pharmacological interventions to treat psychiatric illness have previously focused on modifying dysfunctional neurotransmitter systems to improve symptoms.
However, imperfect understanding of the aetiology of these heterogeneous syndromes has been associated with poor treatment outcomes for many individuals.
Growing evidence suggests that oxidative stress, inflammation, changes in glutamatergic pathways and neurotrophins play important roles in many psychiatric illnesses including mood disorders, schizophrenia and addiction.
These novel insights into pathophysiology allow new treatment targets to be explored.
Minocycline is an antibiotic that can modulate glutamate-induced excitotoxicity, and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.
Given that these mechanisms overlap with the newly understood pathophysiological pathways, minocycline has potential as an adjunctive treatment in psychiatry.
To date there have been promising clinical indications that minocycline may be a useful treatment in psychiatry, albeit from small trials most of which were not placebo controlled.
Case reports of individuals with schizophrenia, psychotic symptoms and bipolar depression have shown serendipitous benefits of minocycline treatment on psychiatric symptoms.
Minocycline has been trialled in open-label or small randomized controlled trials in psychiatry.
Results vary, with findings supporting use in schizophrenia, but showing less benefit for nicotine dependence and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Given the limited data from rigorous clinical trials, further research is required.
However, taken together, the current evidence suggests minocycline may be a promising novel therapy in psychiatry.
Keywords: minocycline; psychiatry; schizophrenia; psychiatric; nicotine; therapeutic potential; psychiatric illness; trial; bipolar depression; nicotine dependence; symptom; neurotrophin; treatment; minocycline treatment; bipolar;

An antibiotic minocycline is being trialed for bipolar disorder
Also for schizophrenia


Senior Member
I am a big fan of the work of evolutionary biologist Paul W. Ewald, and his view that infections likely underpin most diseases and conditions (mental or physical) whose cause is currently unknown.

To quote the Wikipedia article on Paul W. Ewald:
Ewald asserts, along with a growing body of peer reviewed studies published in mainstream scientific journals, that many common diseases of unknown origin are in fact the result of chronic low-level infections from viruses, bacteria or protozoa. For example, cervical cancer can be caused by the human papilloma virus, some cases of liver cancer are caused by hepatitis C or B and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori has been proven to cause stomach ulcers. Ewald argues that many common diseases of currently unknown etiology, such as cancers, heart attacks, stroke and Alzheimer's, may likewise be also caused by chronic low-level microbial infection.

Ewald disagrees with the popular theory that genes alone dictate chronic disease susceptibility. Ewald, whose background is in evolutionary biology, points out that any disease causing gene that reduces survival and reproduction would normally eliminate itself over a number of generations. Ewald says that "chronic diseases, if they are common and damaging, must be powerful eliminators of any genetic instruction that may cause them." One example of this is schizophrenia; patients with this mental illness rarely reproduce. Ewald argues that, just by evolutionary pressures, schizophrenia would have already been eliminated if its causes were strictly genetic; he suggests that in future, an infectious cause of schizophrenia will be discovered.

Ewald explains that purely genetic causes of chronic disease will persist only if a genetic instruction provides a compensating benefit (for example, the disease sickle cell anemia is caused by a genetic mutation that, in heterozygotes, protects against malaria, which kills millions worldwide each year).

Further evidence for a non-genetic etiology of diseases like schizophrenia, Ewald also points, comes from concordance studies on identical twins, which measure the percentage of identical twins who both develop a disease. A concordance of 100% indicates a primarily genetic disease, which is not really influenced by environmental factors like infection, nutrition, or toxins. Huntington's disease, for example, has a concordance rate of 100%, indicating a predominately genetic etiology. However, when the concordance rate is lower, this indicates environmental factors like infectious microbes or toxin exposure are playing a causal role. Schizophrenia's concordance is approximately 35-60%, suggesting, says Ewald, that microbes are etiologically involved.

In short: Ewald says that evolution is a powerful natural force that creates perfectly healthy individuals, as Darwinian evolution will normally weed out any disease-causing genes from the gene pool very rapidly (with certain provisos).

Therefore, by this logic, most diseases will not be genetic in origin, but must be caused by extraneous and pernicious environmental factors — factors such as infections or toxins — that compromise a previously perfectly healthy body. Of course, genes will likely play a role in determining who falls prey to infections or toxins; but Ewald asserts that most diseases of currently unknown etiology are likely to be primarily triggered and maintained by infections.

Hopefully this powerful idea that most diseases of unknown etiology are infection-based will gain wider currency and recognition. If true, this idea will open a whole new way of treating disease, and lead to what Ewald has called "a new golden age of medicine".

Some articles by or about Paul Ewald:

A New Golden Age of Medicine
The Big Idea That Might Beat Cancer and Cut Health-Care Costs by 80 Percent


Senior Member
Another individual who belives that microbial infections underpin many common everyday diseases and conditions is Russell Farris.

Russell Farris has authored a book called: The Potbelly Syndrome: How Common Germs Cause Obesity, Diabetes, And Heart Disease.

As the book title suggests, Farris develops the theory that microbial infections are the underlying cause of these diseases.

Russell Farris has a website (here: www.potbellysyndrome.com) that summarizes the idea presented in his book, including his interest in high cortisol being a factor in disease.

Farris also has a website (here: www.polymicrobial.com) which explores the ideas that:

• Most of the disorders we attribute to old age are caused by infections.
• Many hard-to-treat disorders are caused by multiple, i.e., polymicrobial, infections.