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Could Depression Actually Be a Form of Infectious Disease?

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posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 10:20 PM
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Major depressive disorder (MDD) should be re-conceptualized as an infectious disease, according to Turhan Canli, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology and Radiology at Stony Brook University. In a paper published in Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders, Dr.Canli suggests that major depression may result from parasitic, bacterial, or viral infection. He presents examples that illustrate possible pathways by which these microorganisms could contribute to the etiology of MDD.

MDD remains highly prevalent disease with some 15 to 20 percent of the population experiencing MDD at some point. Recurrence is common, and pharmacological treatments have not changed. Because the causal aspects of the disease are not clearly defined, research to find causes remains paramount to help improve treatments.

"Given this track record of MDD, I propose reconceptualizing the condition as some form of infectious disease," said Dr. Canli, who is also Director of Stony Brook's SCAN Center, a member of the Program in Neuroscience, and a Senior Fellow in the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics. "Future research should conduct a concerted effort search of parasites, bacteria, or viruses that may play a causal role in the etiology of MDD."

In the paper, Dr. Canli presents three arguments why reconceptualizing MDD as an infectious disease may be a fruitful endeavor.

First, he points out that patients with MDD exhibit illness behavior such as loss of energy, and that inflammatory biomarkers in MDD also suggest an illness-related origin. Second, he describes evidence that parasites, bacteria and viruses that infect humans in a way that alters their emotional behavior. Thirdly, Dr. Canli brings the notion of the human body as an ecosystem for microorganisms and the role of genetics.

Could Depression Actually Be a Form of Infectious Disease?

Sorry it's a short article but I think it is an interesting theory and I would like to hear the input of my fellow members. Depression is still a popular topic on ATS right now.

Here is the link to the full study for more information: Reconceptualizing major depressive disorder as an infectious disease




posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 10:31 PM
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Laughter is said to be contagious. I can't say it's a "scientifically proven fact" but it has happened to me.

People have made me depressed by sharing or being depressed. I've done the same to others. We're connected on levels we can't even begin to imagine and people can pick up on subtle gestures and micro expressions so it's no wonder they'd speculate that depression could be contagious.

S + F



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 10:39 PM
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a reply to: Sabiduria

i would not all be surprised if there was a fair bit of truth to this....our bodies are made up of so many microorganisms and we are polluting water soils and plants with so many agents that kill microorganisms surely it would be affecting our bodies and brains in an adverse way
edit on 16-11-2014 by hopenotfeariswhatweneed because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 10:42 PM
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a reply to: Sabiduria

It is a field ripe for study.

There is a parasite (tic---something or other) that cats carry. It infects mice and makes them unafraid of cats so that the cats can catch them easier. They infect people too without 'observable' effects but I suspect every cat owner knows that cats rule their world. LOL.

Also - insanity is contagious - just look around here.

The vector of contagion is important to understand.

I tend to think that more people are depressed because - well it's depressing in reality and more people around are depressed.

Another intriging thread. Kudos.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 10:45 PM
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I will say that I suffered from SEVERE and debilitating anxiety from the time I was 8 years old after a very serious bout of some sort of bizzare stomach bug that lasted a month, to the time I was about 22 and changed my diet. Excuse the horrible run on sentence...
I couldn't take it anymore. I went to therapy, didn't have a traumatic childhood at all, I tried medications. Nothing helped. NOTHING. I went on a detox, then a cleanse, then another detox. I loaded on the probiotics, cut out processed foods, I even stopped eating meat for 6 months to give my body a break. Guess what? No anxiety. No panic attacks. I still make it a point to keep my body very balanced. I drink lemon water daily and take about 3000mg of ascorbic acid a day. I do probiotics as needed, I eat lightly, etc.
Not saying that I have some magic answer. This worked for my body. I tuned into what I felt I needed and it worked for me. So I fully believe we have microorganisms living in us that can cause mental and emotional problems. I have always believed that. They can affect all other parts of our bodies, why not our brains?



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 10:58 PM
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My experience is that it is a genetic trait with an environmental trigger.

But -- it might be a virus. Here is an interesting article:

www.popsci.com...

According to the above article (from 2010) about 8 % of our genes consists of information inserted by viruses.

But, I think depression is probably a genetic propensity that boosts creativity and imagination, at the same time making you vulnerable to sadness, fearfulness, and apathy, depending on your individual experience. It is hard to be happy if you aren't feeling well -- even a minor change in your health can really take its toll -- more for some people than others.

I also think there might be some sort of group consciousness effect -- I bet that could actually be scientifically tested. Take the great depression as an example. (I know there is a slighty different meaning for "depression" in this context -- or is there?)



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:05 PM
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S+f Interesting.I tend to think that there are diverse causes for chronic MDD,including external factors introduced from early childhood,genetics,etc.But this is an interesting speculation.As a lifelong sufferer of MDD,I have found,though,that being a chronic condition,it fluctuates in severity-and in my own personal case,it has sometimes been the constant fatigue that has worsened the depression instead of the other way around.I have battled CFS in the past,and that has on occasion brought about an increase in the severity of the MDD.The two conditions are most likely related.Well it seemed that way to me.I have been off anti-depressants for years now though,and will never go back on them.They always stopped working after a while anyway.And if the root of the depression can not be removed,it is nonsensical to keep putting highly scheduled drugs into one's system,imo.If the MDD is caused by genetic factors,even less use.
I found,for myself,it's best to just forge ahead and hack it,even though it can be hard.
As you go through very hard and depressing,very stressfull times,even brutal times without relying on anti-depressants,it builds a certain emotional and psychological strenghth that can never be taken away from you again.And that in turn,causes a decrease in the occasions where the depression reaches cycles of higher severity.Also, since I have started daily taking ginseng,the CFS has not returned.Worked for me,anyway.

a reply to: Sabiduria



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:12 PM
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Toxoplasmosis,caused by Toxoplasma gondii:
en.m.wikipedia.org...

Interesting point you brought up there.a reply to: FyreByrd



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:27 PM
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a reply to: Yeahkeepwatchingme

Exactly.

Some people are also more susceptible to the infection of depression like Empaths.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:30 PM
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Parasites and microbial infections can cause depression, but they are just one of the possible causes. Sometimes it is an excess of copper in the body or a shortage of the "aged food" chemistry. Other times it could be genetic variances that cause a reduction in certain enzymes or actually a shortage of certain minerals needed for enzymes. Things do not have to make a person physically sick to exist. Mild deficiencies or imbalances in body chemistry can do the trick. A balanced diet based on your genetic needs is a good way off of fending these things off.

A completely different diet from one person to another can result in a similar calm and happy result. If one of the two try to eat what the other eats, they may get sick or depressed. This complicates marriages where people start eating alike.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:36 PM
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a reply to: alishainwonderland

You just reminded me of this article my friend posted:


It sounds like science fiction, but it seems that bacteria within us -- which outnumber our own cells about 100-fold -- may very well be affecting both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what they want, and often are driving us toward obesity

Do gut bacteria rule our minds? In an ecosystem within us, microbes evolved to sway food choices



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:39 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse
Parasites and microbial infections can cause depression


How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy


tiny organisms carried by house cats may be creeping into our brains, causing everything from car wrecks to schizophrenia?

The parasite, which is excreted by cats in their feces, is called Toxoplasma gondii and is the microbe that causes toxoplasmosis—the reason pregnant women are told to avoid cats’ litter boxes


the “latent” parasite may be quietly tweaking the connections between our neurons, changing our response to frightening situations, our trust in others, how outgoing we are, and even our preference for certain scents. And that’s not all. also the organism contributes to car crashes, suicides, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia.




posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:43 PM
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Our mindset isn't evolved yet for the hectic life styles these days.
All this technology the last 50 years, your brain has to go sooner or later in shutdown


It seems the only thing these days is, work work work, and paying loans for cr#p you don't need in the first place.

No wonder you feel a bit down after a while



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:44 PM
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a reply to: Axial Leader

I do agree with you, it's probably that those who have the genes are more at risk for the virus/infection.

Group consciousness is something that has been study for decades, it's quiet interesting. Take a look at Sociology articles for examples.

As for the Great Depression, it was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. That is more like when the banking system was purposely collapsed back in 2008. Some places are still in recession, my small city in Canada is one of them.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:51 PM
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a reply to: Raxoxane

I'm glad you were able to get things better managed.

I get situational depressed but it can last for months. I entered counseling in the beginning of the year and have just recently completed counseling. I went in wanting to learn how to better cope, how to set up healthy boundaries (especially with my co-dependent family) and deal with some things that happened in my past. I was super fortunate that I had a great counselor and was able to open up to her easily. I never refused to answer a question and the only two times I missed a session was because of health issues. I feel so much better and confident in myself and my ability to cope. I didn't think I was doing it that great and was more so ignoring things but I discovered I'm not.

I think more people are prone to or susceptible to the infection of depression, there are contributing factors to it. (Environment, genes) Think of it this way, the average healthy person gets cancer 4 times in their life but their body can fight it off and they will never know they had cancer. It is only those people with contributing factors (environment, genes), that can't fight off the cancer and become sick.



posted on Nov, 16 2014 @ 11:55 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

My Mom recently noticed that sometimes when she is depressed, she is lacking in important nutrients or hasn't been eating well. ((She has Crohn's really bad)) She can't say for sure that every time she was depressed that it was because she wasn't eating well but she thinks it did sometimes.

Everyone is different, that's what makes this interesting and should be investigated further.



posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 12:04 AM
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a reply to: alishainwonderland

I agree with you. I happen to have a defect on a gene that inhibits the breakdown of B12 to the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin among others by about 30 percent. Serotonin is what is needed to avoid depression and dopamine is the 'happy' neurotransmitter. Many years of stress can deplete serotonin to the point you can't replenish without sufficient breakdown of B12.

I have dealt with depression for most of my long life and it is prevalent in my maternal side with several suicides. Two of my maternal siblings have taken the test and both have the defect. I happen to also have a defect on the same gene (apparently paternal) that inhibits methylazation (sp) which is responsible for gene expression.



posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 12:39 AM
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A while back there were some studies which indicated that Bornavirus could cause psychiatric symptoms, but more recent studies are refuting this. It's something to look into, at least.



posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 12:55 AM
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a reply to: Sabiduria

Wonder how much of that, if true, is brought on by say genetics? Age?

And wonder how much do the foods we eat, water/sodas we drink or the air we breath play into it?

We consume a lot of 'chemicals' now a days, whether we like it or not


Thanks for sharing...

S&F


edit on 17-11-2014 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2014 @ 01:25 AM
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originally posted by: FyreByrd
a reply to: Sabiduria

It is a field ripe for study.

There is a parasite (tic---something or other) that cats carry. It infects mice and makes them unafraid of cats so that the cats can catch them easier. They infect people too without 'observable' effects but I suspect every cat owner knows that cats rule their world. LOL.

Also - insanity is contagious - just look around here.

The vector of contagion is important to understand.

I tend to think that more people are depressed because - well it's depressing in reality and more people around are depressed.

Another intriging thread. Kudos.




toxoplasma

en.wikipedia.org...



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