A research reminds us once again that we do not control our mental well-being. Depression is a disease that may affect the entire body, potentially even at the cellular level, according to recent research.
The scholars of the University of Granada conducted a meta-analysis of twenty-nine previous researches. They observed the biomarkers of the subjects with depression before and after treatment with antidepressants and compared them with subjects from the healthy control group. Specifically, they observed concentrations of malondialdehyde, a body biomarker indicating cellular deterioration and oxidative stress, and found a link between depression and high concentrations of the compound.
Oxidative stress occurs when the body produces excess free radicals and then struggles to expel them. These elements are molecules that can negatively alter proteins, lipids and DNA in the body, as well as create a variety of pathologies. Although he still does not know what the connection between depression and oxidative stress is, the actual connection between the two is proven by the research.
Prior to treatment, depressed subjects recorded high levels of malondialdehyde and lower levels of antioxidants such as zinc and uric acid that are indicators of stress levels. However, due to the treatments to which the patients underwent, the level of malondialdehyde decreased considerably. Research states that even malondialdehyde levels were observed similarly among depressed patients who underwent more intensive care and healthy patients.
Research findings also indicate that depression “should be considered a systemic disease.” Starting from this statement, one might find an explanation for the link between depression and other illnesses, such as cardiovascular disorders.
“The findings suggest that oxidative stress has a great influence on depression and that antidepressant activity can be mediated by improving oxidative stress [and] of the antioxidant function,” the researchers say in the conclusions.
Earlier research suggests that there is a clear link between the mental well-being of a person and his physiological state. Depression can be linked to inflammation and experts believe that the disease may be genetic. In addition, patients with this disease have had physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems and acute headaches.
Despite these links, another recent study published in the Health Affairs magazine has shown that doctors follow less depressed patients than patients with other pathologies such as diabetes or asthma.
Research like recent study and research published by Health Affairs can play an important role in changing the way we conceive mental illnesses. “The brain and body are connected,” said Dr Sagar Parikh, associate director of the Center for Depression at the University of Michigan. “The result is that treating mental health problems does not just reduce specific pain because, in reality, it has an incredible impact on physical well-being in general.” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry published the results.
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