Tag Archives: inflammation

Stress relief could someday be an immunization away

A researcher examines a sample of Mycobacterium vaccae. Source: www.colorado.edu

There’s a bacterium found on the shores of a Ugandan lake that could help reduce our stress. Scientists recently injected it into stressed-out mice with promising results.

The bacterium, called Mycobacterium vaccae, reduces inflammation in the brain, which in turn prepares the brain to respond better to stress. These findings could lead to better treatments for PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

In the study, researchers injected mice with the bacterium three times, a week apart. Eight days after the last injection, the mice’s brains showed higher levels of an anti-inflammatory protein in the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in regulating anxiety.

They then placed the mice in a cage with a larger, aggressive mouse. The injected mice showed fewer symptoms of anxiety in the stressful situation, and they had lower levels of a stress-induced, inflammation promoting protein called HMGB1 and higher levels of an anti-inflammatory receptor called CD200R1.

Researchers say other probiotics (helpful bacteria) could have similar effects, and studies are under way to explore how they can be used. One potential use would be as a preventative treatment for people going into stressful situations, like combat or emergency room employment.

There’s so much more to understand about how mental illness works, and this is an interesting step in the right direction.

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. If you would like to discuss the information in this blog further with her, please call 208-918-0958. She sees adolescents and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.


Arthritis drug boosts antidepressant’s effectiveness

I was excited to read this week about another new treatment possibility for depression: An arthritis drug, when paired with an antidepressant, has been shown to work amazingly well.

It’s all about inflammation. Older studies have shown that depression leads to inflammation. Inflammation messes with the chemical balance in your brain and can prevent antidepressants from restoring that balance.

I’ve written before about how taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can cut the depression symptoms for people with bipolar disorder, but this takes that treatment theory to another level.

This time, researchers got serious about tackling inflammation. They brought in an arthritis drug Celecoxib (used to treat pain, redness, swelling and inflammation from arthritis) and paired it with an antidepressant (Lexapro).

For an incredible 78 percent of patients, depression symptoms diminished by at least half. Sixty-three percent reported their depression was completely gone. That’s compared to remission in just 10 percent of patients taking Lexapro alone (with 45 percent saying symptoms had reduced by half).

Furthermore, where antidepressants typically take four to six weeks to start working, patients taking the arthritis drug saw results in just one week.

This new treatment method could prove to be a game changer for many!

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.