In The Conversation, two Australian scientists discuss historical and current research into tentative links between inflammation, immune response and depression.
“The idea that the activation of the immune response may trigger depression in some people is by no means a new one,” they write. “Early descriptions of post-influenza depression appeared in the 19th century in the writings of English physician Daniel Tuke.”
They also provide a broader context for their exploration of the theme: “The recent enthusiasm to embrace inflammation as the major culprit in psychiatric conditions ignores the reality that ‘depression’ is not a single condition. Some depressive states, such as melancholia, are diseases; some are reactions to the environment; some are existential; and some normal. Such separate states have differing contributions of biological, social and psychological causes. So any attempt to invoke a single all-explanatory ’cause’ should be rejected. Where living organisms are concerned it is almost never that simple.”
Is depression a mental or physical illness? Unravelling the inflammation hypothesis (The Conversation, June 30, 2015)