Untreated depression can cause brain inflammation
A new study suggests that untreated depression can cause inflammation in the brain.
TORONTO — A new study suggests that untreated depression could lead to brain inflammation.
Researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health discovered people with untreated depression for more than a decade had more brain inflammation than those who had untreated depression for a shorter period, Science Alert reported.
The study was published on Feb. 26 in The Lancet Psychiatry.
The study looked at 80 participants: 25 people with untreated depression for more than 10 years, 25 people with untreated depression for less than 10 years, and 30 people as a control group without depression.
Using positron emission tomography or PET brain imaging, the team looked for translocator proteins, an inflammation marker produced by the body's microglia — central nervous system immune cells.
Scientists found people suffering from longer terms of untreated depression had 30 percent higher levels of the translocator protein.
Long-term depression sufferers also had higher levels of inflammation compared with the control group.
The next step will be to collect more data, but researchers hope this will lead to new approaches in how depression is treated, specifically medications that target inflammation.
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