Research from the University of Colorado Boulder recently published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity recently proposed a “vaccine against depression,” containing a bacteria first identified in the African country of Uganda called Mycobacterium vaccae.
Mycobacterium vaccae was first discovered in Uganda, in the 1990’s near the shores of Lake Kyoga. It belongs to the very same genus of bacteria that causes tuberculosis, with the genus originally identified in Austria.
The articles promoting this vaccine against depression are quite convincing to even the people who favor naturopathy, because it is branded as a “probiotic” solution to depression.
Recently, researchers have been claiming that brain inflammation could be identified as a cause of depression. It’s difficult to debate the legitimacy of this theory. Since inflammation is generally the root of many medical problems, it sounds probable that inflammation could be a factor in depression. In any case, this is what they are saying about the vaccine against depression.
Researchers in this study injected a heat-killed preparation of the bacterium into rats. According to New Atlas, “An “immunization” pattern was administered, with three injections across three weeks.”
Eight days after the last dose of the bacteria, the rats had increased levels of an anti-inflammatory protein known as interleukin-4 in the hippocampus region of their brains.
They claim that increased levels of this particular protein in the brain will “modulate moods like anxiety and fear.”
New Atlas continues, “After being subjected to potential stresses, as in the first study, the animals showed lower levels of HMGB1, a stress-induced protein, and higher levels of CD200R1, a key receptor for helping keep the brain’s immune cells in an anti-inflammatory state.”
It must be said that when science breaks out of the realm where it can be confirmed and understood by regular, thinking people, it gets to the point where fraud becomes possible.
How can people know for certain that the production of interluekin-4 in the brain is capable of managing anxiety or depression? How can people be certain that this wouldn’t put other parts of the brain and body into a state of imbalance?
With a little more research on this bacteria, one will find it may have an immune-suppressant effect on people.
According to medical researchers from the University of Barcelona in Spain, this bacteria has a substance on the outside of its cell wall that interferes with the production of Th-1 cytokines, which are responsible for certain kinds of T-helper cell immune response.
So if the bacteria significantly does interfere with the production of Th-1 cytokines, it could be bad for the immune system.
“If you look at the field of probiotics generally, they have been shown to have strong effects in the domains of cognitive function, anxiety and fear,” said Christopher Lowry, senior author of the study and researcher investigating the effects of this bacteria for 17 years. “This paper helps make sense of that by suggesting that these beneficial microbes, or signals derived from these microbes, somehow make their way to the hippocampus, inducing an anti-inflammatory state.”
It certainly sounds impressive that he has been researching it for 17 years, and probiotics are certainly a better solution to just about anything than drugs, but why does this have to be an injection, an “immunization?” Defining a bacteria as “probiotic” is also subjective.
One problem with a vaccine against depression is the fact that it wouldn’t address necessarily the root cause of the lack of pleasure causing neurotransmitters, if a person in fact did suffer from chemical depression. They say “inflammation” is the cause this can treat, but that’s debatable.
The root problem for a physical, chemical condition of depression is almost certain to be toxicity. Endocrine disruptors are a class of chemical that disrupts the hormonal function of animals. Plastics are often endocrine disruptors, so are pesticides.
Mercury is one of the most potent endocrine disruptors and has been a classic cause of “chemical” depression throughout history.
So that’s what chemical depression is often a result of: usually it’s a result of chemicals that prevent the brain and hormonal system from functioning properly.
Other times, anxiety or depression can be a very necessary human emotion. Sometimes there is a reason why we have those emotions, like how our conscience sometimes alerts us to a path we aren’t meant to take in life.
There’s something not right about the idea of forcing a person’s brain and body to undergo alteration by some bacteria that these people claim could fight depression.
I don’t think it would work this well, but let’s say this vaccine worked perfectly, and anybody who got it would be completely free of anxiety or depression.
What would those people do in situations where they needed anxiety or sadness? If they were in a life threatening situation and would normally have the intuition to leave the scene, would they not even have the thought that they need to flee?
What if a person was actually pursuing a path in life that deep down, they didn’t like, or maybe it was an immoral occupation: how would they know to change something without the indication of bad feelings?
When it comes to anxiety and depression, the only cure in my opinion is to address the root cause. Sometimes chemicals can disrupt the body and brain, and chemical depression can be a result.
Most times however, depression is a result of dissatisfaction with the circumstances of life, a feeling we absolutely need.
Some of the most intelligent, awake people had to pursue the information that woke them up because of a nagging depression, a “wrong” feeling about the world that they pursued knowledge to satisfy. Many of them successfully cured their depression by learning that society is not the way it should be, and many things about modern day life are not how they should be. Of course, there’s the stage in that process where it hurts to learn the truth is not what they thought it was, but it’s a necessary part of that process.
Things not being the way they should be, should cause depression, so a person can know to search for the truth.
If “science” innovates some way to force the body to be cleansed of these emotions, depression, or anxiety, people will enter a state of mental, emotional, and spiritual imbalance so great, it will destroy the will of many people to search for truth about why they feel those things in the first place.
(Image credit: wikipedia)