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The risk of major depression has been shown to increase by 44% for each standard deviation increase in log c-reactive protein (inflammatory biomarker). Inflammation is caused by a variety of factors including emotional/social stress, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, poor sleep, and more. While it’s very possible (likely?) that there may be more going on with depression than just inflammation, I believe it’s an incredibly useful lens through which to look at promising avenues to treat or prevent it. We may find in years to come that measuring inflammation may also be useful as a way to track the therapeutic success of a whole lifestyle intervention intended to treat an important biological root cause. Inflammation isn’t just an important component (seemingly) of mental health, however… it’s also an important source of DNA damage, which is a fundamental mechanism of aging itself. This is one reason why it shouldn’t surprise us that lower inflammation is also associated with longer lifespan, prolonged physical function and also cognitive abilities in old age. In fact, it has been suggested that inflammation may be the most important driver of successful longevity that actually increases in its importance with advancing age. My team put together a short animated video explaining how inflammation plays a causal role in depression. I hope you check it out and perhaps we will also find that it’s also visually interesting enough to reach a wider, interested group of people. Animated video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqyjVoZ4XYg

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