Brain Inflammation Causes Major Depression

February 1st, 2015 by Dr. Keith Nemec

A new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that the measure of brain inflammation in people who were experiencing clinical depression was increased by 30 per cent. The findings have important implications for developing new treatments for depression.

“This finding provides the most compelling evidence to date of brain inflammation during a major depressive episode,” says senior author of CAMH’s Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute. “Previous studies have looked at markers of inflammation in blood, but this is the first definitive evidence found in the brain.”

Specifically, the research team was able to measure the activation of immune cells, known as microglia, that play a key role in the brain’s inflammatory response.

To investigate whether brain inflammation was increased in people during clinical depression, The research team conducted brain scans on 20 patients with depression but who were otherwise healthy and 20 healthy control participants using a brain imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET). Results showed a significant elevation of brain inflammation in participants with depression. Rates of inflammation were also highest among those with the most severe depression.

A growing body of evidence suggests the role of inflammation in generating the symptoms of a major depressive episode such as low mood, loss of appetite, and inability to sleep. But what was previously unclear was whether inflammation played a role in clinical depression independent of any other physical illness.

“This discovery has important implications for developing new treatments for a significant group of people who suffer from depression,” “It provides a potential new target to either reverse the brain inflammation or shift to a more positive repair role, with the idea that it would alleviate symptoms.”

The drive to uncover new ways to target and treat depression is fueled by the reality that more than half of people with major depression do not respond to antidepressant treatments and four per cent of the general population is the midst of a clinical episode. Current treatments do not target inflammation, and treating depression with anti-inflammatories is one avenue for future research.

-JAMA Psychiatry

Dr. Keith & Laurie Nemec’s comments on Brain inflammation and depression:

As we have told patients for the last 30 years at Total Health Institute- Inflammation is the root of all disease and this includes mental and emotional disease according to this new study.

So if inflammation is the culprit in disease then what causes the inflammation? To answer that question you have to address the systems of the body. Health is only achieved when all the systems are in balance working in harmony. If one system malfunctions with lower function another system will compensate with an excessive function and this can be termed “inflammation”. What are the systems what we analyze with each patient we see at Total Health Institute?

  1. Nervous system
  2. Immune system
  3. Hormonal system
  4. Cardiovascular system
  5. Lymphatic system
  6. Digestive system
  7. Detoxification system

Your body is this symphony of motion and action that continually flows life and health to your cells. If one system drops the ball because of an excessive stress placed upon it (your nervous system gets stressed from a poor diet that includes chemical additives, preservatives and excitotoxins then it malfunctions from a hyper response to a hypo or lower response. This can then trigger the immune system to counter with an increase of circulating inflammation producing white blood cells. This then leads to higher levels of inflammation throughout the blood and body. If this stays longer then necessary the end result is chronic inflammation in the blood, brain and body which can lead to any disease physically or mentally and emotionally.

What is the answer to get rid of inflammation?

Well it is NOT to take anti-inflammatory medication because that only works short term for acute situations and if taken long term will damage multiple organ systems including your liver.

The answer is found in balancing these 7 systems naturally. We do this at Total Health Institute with specific treatments and teaching a diet and lifestyle that heal the root of all inflammation. A first step that everyone should start today is to implement the  Seven Basic Steps to Total Healthinto your lifestyle. If you have more significant issues give us a call and we will help guide you to the best next step.

Stop thinking “I should take this for this and take that for that”. Instead get healthy in all your systems and the body will do what God designed it to do. It will heal.


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