Science and medicine are always looking for answers to problems like this, and though more often than not they eventually find reasonable explanations or solutions, sometimes the answers are more confusing than the questions. Depression is a serious medical condition, affecting millions of people worldwide. There are numerous causes for depression, but the most recent theory put forth by researchers at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center in Atlanta, GA is curious at best.
It seems that if youre a fan of numbers, rates of depression have risen along with the evolution of human society. Data that has been recently discussed in the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests that one cause of depression is that people are too clean. Modern humans are so clean that we do not come into contact with bacteria that help our immune systems to fight inflammation, and inflammation is something that is very prevalent in cases of depression. Not just depression though, but many other diseases including cancer.
Charles Raison, MD, who among other colleagues published the review article is quoted as saying We have known for a long time that people with depression, even those who are not sick, have higher levels of inflammation. He goes on to say Since ancient times benign microorganisms, sometimes referred to as old friends have taught the immune system how to tolerate other harmless microorganisms, and in the process, reduce inflammatory responses that have been linked to the development of most modern illnesses, from cancer to depression.
Studies are underway to determine whether or not the properties of these missing bacteria have emotional effects on individuals affected by depression.