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Harvard Health Blog
Infection, autoimmune disease linked to depression
- By Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health
About the Author
Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
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OCD, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia , bipolar disorder are all triggered by infections , these are all autoimmune diseases and thus can be treated effectively with antibiotics.
This research has been reported by CIDPUSA in their book flame within and patients reversed with the use of Vibramycine.
Thank you for this article – it’s an area that requires greater awareness. I had a streptococcus overgrowth and developed panic disorder and OCD. Treatment with erythromycin has helped and I was totally symptom free for 6 months. It has now returned (confirmed with strep blood and stool testing) and so now I return to erythromycin again to get the strep under control. Importantly, adults can experience this, it is not just children with PANDAS.
This book makes for gripping reading by the way: Brain-Fire-My-Month-Madness
Antibiotics can alter gene expression too, by reducing the gut bacteria that produce HDAC-i compounds known to affect gene transcription. These don’t change the genetics, but they can awaken a silenced gene.
it cannot be denied that if we don’t care how we living, we would get many health problems. It’s better to have more healthy diet and more exercise in order the body keep to health 🙂
my observation is, that whenever I have some even minor general viral infection (usually with some bone aches, a cold, not necessarily a fever, but nevertheless a sense of being affected in the whole body with some kind of virus, my mood gets often into a depression, as if the virus also attacks the brain in a way.
Viruses generally do lead to an increase of the cytocine y-Interferon.
y-Interferon is also used for the treatment of Hepatitis C, which has the common very well known side effect of depression. Many Hep C treated patients also pass some time on a psychatric ward due to depression as a side effect of y-Interferon. I assume there is a similar connection between common viral diseases, increase of y-interferon and depression.
Interesting hypothesis however, my family has a history of generational depression. Suicide, bipolar, depression that has resulted in self medicating i.e. alcoholism and drug abuse. I think that there are several causes of depression and mental disorders. Having said that, thank you for your continuing endeavors in medical research.
Paulette, Many infections can be passed in utero to the baby. Also, many infections can be transmitted to family members due to their close living situation. This could explain why many families have a history of depression.
There are many infections that can alter neuronal gene expression – which would explain the genetic component.
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