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There’s very good evidence for systemic inflammation being implicated in mental disorders more generally, but also depression specifically. See the FoundMyFitness video entitled “The Underlying Mechanisms of Depression” to learn about some of the interesting experiments establishing the connection between immune dysfunction and symptoms of depression.

This study, however, seems to suggest that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder actively have 30% higher brain-related inflammation.


A chemical dye measured the activity of immune cells called microglia, which are active in inflammation, in six brain areas that play a role in OCD. In people with OCD, inflammation was 32 per cent higher on average in these regions. Inflammation was greater in some people with OCD as compared to others, which could reflect variability in the biology of the illness. […] Another notable finding from the current study - a connection between resisting compulsions and brain inflammation - provides one indicator. At least nine out of 10 people with OCD carry out compulsions, the actions or rituals that people do to try to reduce their obsessions. In the study, people who experienced the greatest stress or anxiety when they tried to avoid acting out their compulsions also had the highest levels of inflammation in one brain area. This stress response could also help pinpoint who may best benefit from this type of treatment.

In light of the fact that we now know the body’s immune system is afforded direct access to the brain via a network of lymphatic vessels in the meninges, it puts managing systemic inflammation in a whole new light.

While we may be a long way away from finding a “cure” for people suffering from these disorders, it does make multi-pronged inflammation reduction approaches that much more appealing.

This could possibly include…

… and yes, possibly targetted drugs as well. The point is, by establishing inflammation as a missing link in these disorders it opens up a lot of different possible “treatments” that might have a cumulative effect! Interesting times.

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