Childhood Adversity Promotes Neuroimmune Inflammation and Depression


Researchers in Canada and the U.S. found that in a group of 147 female adolescents at risk for depression, actual transition to depression was accompanied by increased neuroimmune inflammation among those exposed to high childhood adversity. Results will appear in Biological Psychiatry.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. From the abstract “There is mounting interest in the hypothesis that inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of depression and underlies depressed patients’ vulnerability to comorbid medical conditions. However, research on depression and inflammation has yielded conflicting findings, fostering speculation that these conditions associate only in certain subgroups, such as patients exposed to childhood adversity.”

    I’m sorry, I’m just not buyin’ it that mood causes inflammation. Far more likely is that feeling crummy affects mood.

    Various illnesses, including colds and allergies, causing inflammation are so widespread in the general population that a vague definition of “depression” can easily find a pseudo-significant overlap.

    This is yet another attempt by biopsychiatry to find a biological cause for “depression,” as though the bumps and crashes of life weren’t enough. I’m afraid the “inflammation theory” is going to be used to justify widespread prophylactic prescription of antidepressants as a bid to improve general health.

    If “depression” coexists with inflammation, the underlying physical illness should be addressed, and not by a psychiatrist.

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    • Altostrata,

      I totally agree with you. I have been noting the many articles about child abuse and/or related traumas causing so called psychosis, “mental illness,” schizophrenia and various brain damage or other pathology.

      This is probably because psychiatry sees that patients and others have caught on that their emotional distress and/or trauma injuries did not arise out of nowhere or bogus brain pathologies as psychiatry has claimed to blame the victims per usual.

      At first, I thought it was understood that at least soldiers labelled with PTSD were having a normal reaction to abnormal events, the original intent behind this diagnosis unlike most of them.

      Sadly, as usual psychiatry has perverted PTSD to push the latest lethal poison drugs/tortures and mental illness invalidation per an article I cited under that topic while creating many new bogus eugenics studies with the usual lies that those who get PTSD are more susceptible to it because of their genes, faulty brains, abusive childhoods or whatever lie they wish to perpetrate at the moment for their blaming the victim cartel to justify the abuses of the power elite that psychiatry enforces with even worse abuses to destroy the victims’ credibility and lives.

      I have also noted with disgust that so called psychosis is now being included as a supposed PTSD symptom which is news to me!! Another ploy to take a more acceptable diagnosis and make it as bad and worse as the garbage can schizophrenia that converted to the latest bipolar fraud fad which has gotten much criticism and exposure. Bipolar is frequently a misdiagnosis used for PTSD especially since psychiatry has made the symptoms quite similar to hide this nefarious goal. Perhaps PTSD with the usual sociopathic tweaking is the new sacred symbol of psychiatry to push their torture death treatments and horrific human rights violations and bogus research/claims as one of a zillion wolves in sheep’s clothing frauds and crimes committed by psychiatry.

      In reponse to who is psychotic or crazy? I say psychiatrists if you read Dr. David Kaiser’s AGAINST BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY and many others exposing the truth. However, this is only if you judge their behavior. If you judge their motives, goals and incentives, they are perfectly “sane” psychopaths/malignant narissists without a shred of empathy, remorse or brakes for all the suffering, lies, exploitation and evil they inflict on already vulnerable, suffering people, their favorite targets.

      Any sane person would avoid mainstream biological psychiatrists like the plague they are.

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  2. I agree that “Biological Psychiatry” is bound to distort these findings in the direction of finding a new basis for dosing more people with psychotropic drugs. That’s just where their bread is buttered at.

    But I don’t necessarily reject any finding that says my moods cause certain physical states rather than vice-versa. A few years ago, during a stressful time, I was lying in bed, not moving a muscle, but fuming over the recent past and worrying about the day to come. I suddenly became aware that my heart was hammering. Out of curiosity, I took my pulse. 140. Damn. About double what it ought to be. I didn’t have a blood-pressure cuff, but I bet my blood pressure was pretty whacked out too. And I bet if I were to live under that stress for, say, ten years nonstop, I would have a heart attack.

    Would you tell me that the high blood pressure was causing my “so-called anxiety” and that blood pressure pills would fix my emotional state? I don’t think so. But at the same time it’s not clear that “anti-anxiety meds” would put my body or mind back in balance. A few pills to help me sleep, short-term, might not be so bad, but mainly I have to figure out why I’m living under that kind of stress, and what to do.

    The same goes for these teenage girls in the study, I figure. I doubt their “so-called depression” would vanish with enough aspirin or antibiotics to fight off inflammation. But I also really doubt antidepressants would fix it, because antidepressants don’t “fight depression” the way aspirin “fights inflammation.” The best you can say is, in the short term they have some effects, which make some depressed people, but not others, feel better for awhile. In the long run they are probably bad for all of us.

    Just my $.02. Mainly, I hope we can help these young women build good lives. Just think, the system will probably put some of them on $1200 a month in psych meds. Can you imagine all the nice things we could do for one girl for $1200 a month? I’m thinking get her into a better school environment if her current one is scary and depressing — plus weekly counseling if she wanted it. And by and by, we might lower her chances of having a stroke at the age of fifty, too. Just through a better chance to pursue happiness.

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