Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed or depressed that you hurt more? Maybe you have noticed that you are more sore in your muscles or joints on down days and it is harder to get going when compared with days where you are happy and full of life? Similarly, on the other side of that coin, when inflammation has gotten so bad that you are living a life full of pain you may notice right away that depression and other mental health issues are starting to sink in.
So not only are you in pain and struggling to function but you are also struggling on a mental and emotional level as well. Scientists from Rice University, and Ohio State University, recently found that chronic inflammation which is carried in your bloodstream can ‘fan the flames’ of your depression making it much harder to function.
The article ‘Inflammation: Depression Fans the Flames and Feasts on the Heat’ was published by the group in the American Journal of Psychiatry. This article combined research from 200 different published studies on both inflammation and depression.
“In the health area of psychology at Rice, we’re very focused on the intersection of health behavior, psychology and medicine,” said assistant professor of psychology Christopher Fagundes. “One thing that we’re particularly interested in is how stress affects the immune system, which in turn affects diseases and mental health outcomes, the focus of this paper.”
So not only does inflammation exacerbate many common physical health issues such as diabetes and cancer but now we have found that is has major links in depression and mental health as well. The researchers found that patients who struggled with depression would often find 50% higher levels of CRP and IL-6 which are two main markers of inflammation in the blood stream.
Fagundes reported that chronic inflammation was most common in people who have high-stress lives such as those who live in lower socio-economic states, or who have endured abuse or neglect as children. So in other words, a person’s physical pain can come from years of struggling to survive and thrive in this world.
“Previous research shows that individuals who have socio-economic issues or had problems in their early lives are already at higher risk for mental issues because of these stresses in their lives,” Fagundes said. “As a result, they often experience a higher occurrence of chronic inflammation, which we have linked to depression.”
When an area of your body turns red after an injury or when you are sick, this is a normal inflammatory response.
“This is your immune system working to kill that pathogen, which is a good thing,” Fagundes said. “However, many individuals exhibit persistent systemic inflammation, which we’re finding is really the root of all physical and mental diseases. Stress, as well as poor diet and bad health behaviors, enhances inflammation.”
While society works to fix the issues with poverty, abuse and neglect there is one area that we can work on which is our body mass index. Inflammation is also linked to consuming fatty foods.
In addition, to society offering children an empowering and strong support system early in life we need to help people deal with their stress in order to reduce and avoid the inflammation that is so key in physical and mental disease.
The researchers also found that this particular depression which is caused by chronic inflammation is resistant to traditional therapy. In other words, the depression pills and therapy of the western world is extremely ineffective at helping someone heal from this particular type of depression and inflammation.
Alternative Treatments can help
Researchers found that alternative treatments such as meditation, exercise, yoga, and NSAIDS can help relieve patients. NSAIDS shouldn’t be taken over long periods of time since they cause harm your stomach and liver. In the beginning, try supplementing your pain reliever with natural anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, ginger, clove, and rosemary.
Fagundes hopes that the research being done now will prevent many health issues both mentally and physically moving forward.
“We still have a lot to learn about how inflammation impacts depression, but we are making progress,” he said “We hope one day this work will lead to new treatments that are part of standard psychiatric care.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
Almudena Sanchez-Villegas from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria did another study which found that eating a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet which is full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and low in processed meats can help prevent depression.
His large study of 15,093 people found that depression could be strongly linked with our choices in food.
“We wanted to understand what role nutrition plays in mental health, as we believe certain dietary patterns could protect our minds. These diets are all associated with physical health benefits and now we find that they could have a positive effect on our mental health.”
According to the Harvard Health Educational program here are some of the best foods to eat in order to reduce your depression and inflammation as well as which foods you should avoid.
Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People
The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.
Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.
Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.
Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.
Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.
“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”
However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.
In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”
“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”
Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say
With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.
According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.
The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.
The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.
While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.
Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.
“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.
“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.
Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced
However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.
Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact
Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.
And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.
Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.
Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.
Death Toll, by Percent of Population
In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.
Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.
The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.
Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.
History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning
While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.
In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.
What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?
Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics
Republished from ZH with permission.