Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Study Finds Link Between Chronic Depression and Accelerated Immune Cell Aging

April 06, 2011

Certain cases of major depression are associated with premature aging of immune cells, which may make people more susceptible to other serious illness, according to findings from a new UCSF-led study.

The findings indicate that accelerated cell aging does not occur in all depressed individuals, but is dependent upon how long someone is depressed, particularly if that depression goes untreated. The study was published online in March 2011 by the journal PLoS One and is available here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0017837

"There's a lot more to depression than feeling blue," said first author Owen Wolkowitz, MD, a professor of psychiatry at UCSF. "As if feeling depressed is not bad enough, we are finding that long-term depression may be associated with damage to cells in the body, and this may predispose patients to certain physical diseases."

Previously considered a mental illness affecting only the brain, major depressive disorder, or MDD, now is believed to be tied to significant physical damage outside the brain, explained Wolkowitz. For example, depressed individuals are more likely to develop the diseases of advanced age, including diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke and dementia.

In probing the links between depression and physical disease, the research team explored aging of the immune system as measured by the shortening of telomeres in immune cells taken from the blood.

Telomeres are tiny units of DNA-protein complexes that seal off and protect the ends of chromosomes and act as a biological clock controlling a cell's life. Telomere shortening predicts earlier onset of several major age-related diseases and earlier mortality, and may serve as one index of human longevity.

The researchers compared the length of telomeres in 18 individuals with MDD not currently receiving antidepressant medications to the length of telomeres in 17 healthy controls. Overall, telomeres of the depressed group did not differ from those of the healthy group; however, individuals with nine or more years of untreated chronic depression showed significant telomere shortening, even after accounting for chronological age. The degree of shortening in this subset of the depressed group corresponded to about seven years of "accelerated cell aging."

Telomere shortening also was associated with higher levels of inflammation and oxidative stress in patients, both linked to cell damage and premature aging. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between destructive "free radical" molecules and the body's ability to neutralize them with antioxidants. The authors suggest that telomere shortening in very chronic depression may reflect an individual's cumulative exposure to biochemical stressors that promote cell death and increase the likelihood of physical disease.

"While this finding itself might seem depressing, there is yet good news: many lifestyle factors like exercise and aspects of diet have been linked to longer telomeres," said co-author Elissa Epel, PhD, an associate professor in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry. "So while our personal history matters, it is possible that what we do today may matter even more, in terms of protecting our telomeres."

Epel and co-author Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, UCSF professor of biochemistry and biophysics, pioneered research on the impact of psychological stress on several biological markers of cell aging. Blackburn shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her telomere research and co-discovery of the cellular enzyme telomerase. Telomerase helps repair and restore telomeres, protecting cells from damage related to premature aging.

In related work, the research team recently reported in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, available here (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21242992), that individuals with MDD show increased activity of the telomerase enzyme. Depressed individuals with the lowest telomerase activity before antidepressant treatment, and those with the greatest increase in activity during treatment, showed the strongest antidepressant responses. These findings suggest that the seemingly paradoxical increase of telomerase in untreated depressed individuals indicates their bodies are attempting to compensate for the damage to their telomeres. Increases during treatment, on the other hand, may represent true improvement in depression.

"We speculate that telomerase may provide a biological marker for antidepressant responses," Wolkowitz said. "Once we better understand these systems, we will be in a stronger position to treat depression and possibly prevent some of its associated physical illnesses."

As a next step, UCSF researchers plan to replicate these preliminary findings in a larger sample of depressed individuals in order to explain why certain people develop shortened telomeres and physical disease, and how that process can be combated. Depressed individuals not taking antidepressants are currently being enrolled for this ongoing study, and interested participants may inquire at (415) 476-7254 or mood@ucsf.edu.

Additional UCSF co-authors are Synthia Mellon, PhD; Jue Lin, PhD; Victor Reus, MD; Rebecca Rosser; Heather Burke, PhD; Eve Kupferman, PhD; Mariana Compagnone, MD; and J. Craig Nelson, MD. Co-authors from other institutions are Firdaus Dhabhar, PhD, of Stanford and Yali Su, PhD, of Kronos Science Laboratory.

The studies were funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the O'Shaughnessy Foundation, the Bernard and Barbro Osher Foundation, and UCSF. Additionally, Blackburn, Epel and Lin are co-founders of a new company called Telome Health, Inc., which is developing applications of telomere biology to identify disease risk and to improve wellness.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. More information is available at www.ucsf.edu.

University of California - San Francisco


Related Depression Current Events and Depression News Articles


No genetic link between smaller subcortical brain volumes and risk for schizophrenia
There is no evidence of genetic overlap between risk for schizophrenia and brain volume measures, according to researchers in a global study that examined the genes that drive the development of schizophrenia.

Allergy shots effective for baby boomers suffering from seasonal allergies
Recent years have seen an increase in those suffering from allergies, including baby boomers. And because older people tend to have additional chronic diseases, diagnosis and management of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) can be a challenge.

Scientists discover molecular link between psychiatric disorders and type 2 diabetes
There may be a genetic connection between some mental health disorders and type 2 diabetes. In a new report appearing in the February 2016 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists show that a gene called "DISC1," which is believed to play a role in mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and some forms of depression, influences the function of pancreatic beta cells which produce insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels.

When older adults stop driving, it may impact health and well-being
Driving a car is a key factor in independent living and life satisfaction for older adults. In the U.S., driving is considered an important aspect of personal freedom and gives people a sense of control over their lives.

Investigating potential fetal exposure to antidepressants
Depression is a serious issue for expecting mothers. Left untreated, depression could have implications for a fetus's health.

Parental depression negatively affects children's school performance
A new study has found that when parents are diagnosed with depression, it can have a significant negative impact on their children's performance at school.

Is being a morning person in your DNA?
23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced the results of one of the largest genome-wide association studies of its kind, identifying genetic variants associated with being a morning person.

Online therapy can help those affected by body dysmorphic disorder
Internet based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help people affected by body dysmorphic disorder, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Reduced anxiety and depression for women participating in women-only cardiac rehab programs
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women globally. Women who have an acute coronary heart event may be more likely to die or to suffer complications during the initial recovery period than men, but are less likely to make use of cardiac rehabilitation programs.

VUMC study may offer answers for treating depression in alcoholics
A study by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is offering a glimmer of hope to alcoholics who find it hard to remain sober because their abstinence is hounded by stubborn, difficult-to-treat depression.
More Depression Current Events and Depression News Articles

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
by Stephen S. Ilardi (Author)


In the past decade, depression rates have skyrocketed, and one in four Americans will suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. Where have we gone wrong? Dr. Stephen Ilardi sheds light on our current predicament and reminds us that our bodies were never designed for the sleep-deprived, poorly nourished, frenzied pace of twenty-first century life.Inspired by the extraordinary resilience of aboriginal groups like the Kaluli of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Ilardi prescribes an easy-to-follow, clinically proven program that harks back to what our bodies were originally made for and what they continue to need. The Depression Cure program has already delivered dramatic results, helping even those who have failed to respond to traditional medications.

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
by Kamal Ravikant (Author)


In December of 2011, I gave a talk to an audience of scientists, Pentagon officials, politicians, and CEOs on the secret of life and how I'd figured it out the previous summer. Afterwards, people came up individually and told me how much what I'd shared meant to them. This book is based on the truth I spoke about. It's something I learned from within myself, something I believed saved me. And more than that, the way I set about to do it. This is a collection of thoughts on what I learned, what worked, what didn't. Where I succeed and importantly, where I fail daily. The truth is to love yourself with the same intensity you would use to pull yourself up if you were hanging off a cliff with your fingers. As if your life depended upon it. Once you get going, it's not hard to do. Just...

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
by David D. Burns (Author)


The good news is that anxiety, guilt, pessimism, procrastination, low self-esteem, and other "black holes" of depression can be cured without drugs. In Feeling Good, eminent psychiatrist, David D. Burns, M.D., outlines the remarkable, scientifically proven techniques that will immediately lift your spirits and help you develop a positive outlook on life. Now, in this updated edition, Dr. Burns adds an All-New Consumer′s Guide To Anti-depressant Drugs as well as a new introduction to help answer your questions about the many options available for treating depression.

- Recognise what causes your mood swings
- Nip negative feelings in the bud
- Deal with guilt
- Handle hostility and criticism
- Overcome addiction to love and approval
- Build self-esteem
-...

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-by-Step Program

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-by-Step Program
by William J. Knaus EdD (Author), Albert Ellis PhD (Author)


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely used treatment for depression for one simple reason: it works. The CBT program in this workbook has helped thousands of readers defeat the depressive thoughts and beliefs that keep them from enjoying life and feeling like themselves. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression delivers evidence-based tools you can confidently use to do better, feel better, and prevent depression from coming back.Through a series of worksheets and exercises, you’ll evaluate your depression and learn key skills for overcoming it. Once you have your depression symptoms under control, you will appreciate the additional information on preventing relapse that is special to this new edition. This workbook also...

The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time

The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time
by Alex Korb PhD (Author), Daniel J. Siegel MD (Foreword)


Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. In The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the intricate brain processes that cause depression and offers a practical and effective approach to getting better. Based on the latest research in neuroscience, this book provides dozens of straightforward tips you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life.
 
Whether you suffer from depression or just want a better understanding of the brain, this book offers an engaging and informative look at the neuroscience behind our emotions, thoughts, and actions. The truth is that there isn’t one big solution to depression, but there are numerous simple steps you can...

Depression: The Fool-Proof Method To Overcome Depression and Stress (Depression Cure, Stress Treatment, Anxiety and Depression Relief)

Depression: The Fool-Proof Method To Overcome Depression and Stress (Depression Cure, Stress Treatment, Anxiety and Depression Relief)


Depression: The Fool-Proof Method To Overcome Depression and Stress

Read this book for FREE on Kindle Unlimited! ~ HURRY! Grab it while it's still here.

In the last decade, depression rates in US have skyrocketed, and scientists estimate that one in four Americans will suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. When somebody suffers from depression, loved ones and friends naturally want to help, but usually their good intentions come out all wrong. Without the right tools, they are left with feelings of sadness.
The good news is that bad mood, low-self-esteem and other “black holes” of depression can be treated without drugs. This book is a complete, comprehensive, step-by-step scientific guide - helps readers understand exactly...

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
by Brene Brown (Author)


In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, "What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?" In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as...

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
by Andrew Solomon (Author)


Andrew Solomon’s National Book Award-winning, bestselling, and transformative masterpiece on depression—“the book for a generation, elegantly written, meticulously researched, empathetic, and enlightening” (Time)—now with a major new chapter covering recently introduced and novel treatments, suicide and anti-depressants, pregnancy and depression, and much more.

The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policy makers and politicians, drug designers, and philosophers, Andrew Solomon reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease as well as the reasons for hope. He confronts the challenge of defining the illness...

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)
by Mark Williams (Author), John Teasdale (Author), Zindel Segal (Author), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Author)


If you’ve ever struggled with depression, take heart. Mindfulness, a simple yet powerful way of paying attention to your most difficult emotions and life experiences, can help you break the cycle of chronic unhappiness once and for all.

In The Mindful Way through Depression, four uniquely qualified experts explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of it” lead us deeper into the downward spiral. Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, they demonstrate how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination and self-blame, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience. Jon Kabat-Zinn gently and encouragingly narrates the accompanying...

DEPRESSION: Depression Self Help and How to Easily Overcome Depression For Life (Overcome depression, depression self help, depression cure, depression and anxiety, happy and healthy life)

DEPRESSION: Depression Self Help and How to Easily Overcome Depression For Life (Overcome depression, depression self help, depression cure, depression and anxiety, happy and healthy life)


7+ Free Bonus Books Included, Plus Free Gift!

Are you battling depression, worry, stress and anxiety?
Do you wish that you could alleviate yourself of sadness, and fatigue?
Do you want to find a way to fight the depression without having to make doctors appointment?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to read this book!

Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

You’re about to discover a proven strategy on how to overcome depression for the rest of your life. Millions of people suffer from depression and throw away their lives and their future because of this destructive condition. Most people realize how much of a problem this is, but are unable to change their depression, simply because it's been a part of...

© 2016 BrightSurf.com