Episode 64: Inflammation, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Amy Weintraub, tells the story of her depression and how practicing yoga lead her on a path to wellbeing, which inspired her to start LifeForce Yoga to help other people through their depression. Sunday, August 20, 2017.
For more information on LifeForce Yoga: https://yogafordepression.com/
Psychology Today – excepts
The Surprising Psychology of the Common Cold: New research shows just how bad cold and flu season can be for your psyche.
Posted Feb 02, 2015 By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D.
Illnesses like the flu or the common cold can closely mimic and cause depressive symptoms by activating your immune response and inflammation in your body (Hall 1996, Smith 1999, Capuron 1999).
Our immune, neurologic, and psychological systems are closely intertwined. When there is a foreign invader in your body, like the influenza virus, your cells produce proinflammatory cytokines, non-antibody proteins that activate and organize your body’s immune response (Raison 2006). These chemical proteins circulate throughout your body and communicate with your brain, which in turn produces its own cytokines. These brain cytokines lead to fever, fatigue, depressed mood, lack of appetite, lack of motivation, social withdrawal, poor concentration, and altered sleeping patterns. In other words, the physical sickness caused by the inflammatory response significantly overlaps with depressive symptoms.
A recently published study in JAMA Psychiatry adds important evidence on the link between depression and inflammation (Setiawan, et al. 2015). Researchers compared the positron emission tomography (PET) scans of 20 people diagnosed with a current major depressive episode with 20 healthy control participants. They measured a protein density known to be associated with neuroinflammation (“translocator protein density measured by distribution volume”).
Levels of protein density measuring neuroinflammation were significantly elevated in all three brain regions that they examined: 26 percent higher in the prefrontal cortex, 32 percent higher in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and 33 percent higher in the insula. Further, higher levels of this protein density—and, presumably, neuroinflammation—in the ACC were associated with increased severity of the depression.
This study helps to shed light on neuroinflammation as a potential pathway for depression. It also helps explain why, when you come down with the flu, you might also feel like you caught the blues, too.