Friday, October 20, 2017

Flaming brains

I have mentioned Carmine Pariante in a previous post. Yesterday I went to a talk he gave in the Cambridge Department of Psychiatry on 'Depression and inflammation in the 21st century'. He has reflected in a recent article on his 20 years research in this field.

It does seem a bit nonsensical to talk about depression as an inflammatory disorder, like rheumatoid arthritis. For a start, any apparent increases in proinflammatory cytokines are generally not of the same order as in autoimmune or inflammatory diseases. I'm not saying that an array of inflammatory mediators have not been found to be higher in depressed patients, although this association can at least be reduced by eliminating confounders (O'Connor et al, 2009). Increased inflammation is also associated with psychosocial stress suggesting that any association is likely to be nonspecific rather than specific in the causality of depression.

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