• Major Depression Revealed: Brain inflammation Linked

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    Study was conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and published in JAMA Psychiatry, suggests that brain inflammation may be linked with major depressive disorder. The researchers found that individuals with clinical depression exhibited brain inflammation which “was increased by 30 per cent”. They found that it has unusual high level of microglia in the brain.

    The finding that depressed individuals tend to have brains that are 30% more inflamed than healthy brains, may lead to new depression treatments that target inflammation, say Canadian researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

    More inflammation = more severe depression

    Specifically, the researchers were able to measure the activation of immune cells, known as microglia, that play a key role in the brain’s inflammatory response. They used a brain imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET) to conduct brain scans on 20 patients with depression (but otherwise healthy) as well as 20 healthy control participants.

    Results, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, showed a significant elevation of brain inflammation in participants with depression; levels of inflammation were highest among those with the most severe depression.

    Pointing the way towards new treatments

    More than half of people with severe depression do not respond to antidepressant treatments and four percent of the general …

    Study was post-doctoral research fellow Dr. Elaine Setiawan. This research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

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