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Depression Infection?



Major Depression Disorder (MDD), most commonly known as “Depression”, is typically thought of as a genetic or neurological disease. However, Dr. Tuhran Canli, Associate Professor of Psychology and Radiology at Stony Brook University, suggests that MDD be recategorized as a result of a parasitic, bacterial, or viral infection. Canli’s paper, Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders, argues how possible pathways from these infections could cause MDD.

The causes of MDD are still unclear, therefore the research is delving more into the causes over the treatments. Dr. Canli suggests that by redefining MDD as an infectious disease, it will push future researchers to focus their attention on parasites, bacteria, or viruses.

Canli’s three major arguments for this change of MDD’s etiology are as follows:

1. MDD patients have a loss of energy, typically found in an illness. Also, the “inflammatory biomarkers in MDD suggest an illness-related origin”.

2. Parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections alter emotional behavior in humans.

3. The body is an ecosystem, made for microorganisms and genetics. These infections alter that ecosystem.

The redefinition of the causes of MDD could have significant help in finding the cause and eventual better treatment of the disease. Has depression been an infection all along?


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  1. simbiotic

    What a great article Camouflage! To elaborate on the idea of depression and genetics, British researchers have found that a certain depression gene is actually prevalent in many family members that have depression. A certain chromosome was found in more than 800 different families. Scientists think that 40% of people with depression are affected due to genetic factors, and that 60% are due to environmental factors. Research shows that in a family, even if only one person is impacted by depression, it is three times more likely for another member to have depression.

    if you wanna know more about the gene/chromosome I was talking about, here is a link!

  2. izotope

    What an interesting article camouflage! I always assume depression comes from chemical imbalances but it is interesting to see that infections might be a source. I found in an article by Harvard Health that 62% of patients who had severe infections developed mood disorders and an autoimmune disease increases your risk by 45%. Some of these infections cause inflammation that generates cytokines. These alter the way the brain communicates and possibly causing these mood disorders. I would like to see how and if they ultimately make this connection.

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