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Depression: A Stress Allergy?

| Filed under: HealthMental HealthScience!

Cancer Stress Depression Death

Now this is a new way of thinking about depression: could some forms be an allergy to stress?

A new study seems to think so, by finding that an over-responsive immune system could be to blame for why some people are susceptible to depression.

Though, this was tested on mice, so take it with a grain of salt for now — the mice whose stress response involved overproducing an inflammatory compound called interleukin-6 were more likely to become depressed than mice who didn't overproduce the compound.

That same compound is developed in depressed humans!

Here's what the researcher said:

"There's probably a subset of people with depression who have this over-sensitive inflammatory response to stress and… this is leading to the symptoms of depression. In some ways, it is an analogy to an allergy. You have something that is not really dangerous, but your body thinks it is, so you have this massive immune response. In this case, the stressor is what they're having this massive immune response to."

With this new way of looking at some of the causes of depression, treatment could be tailored in new ways. Meaning that some of the drugs used in the study to lessen the immune response are already currently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis!

Science is RAD!

[Image via AP Images.]

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