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The evidence has been building up for years: Inflammation and depression are linked, and treating inflammation can lead to improvement in depression symptoms.

It looks like scientists have gotten to the point where the connection is no longer a maybe.

Here’s what Cambridge’s head of Psychiatry said at a recent forum:

“In relation to mood, beyond reasonable doubt, there is a very robust association between inflammation and depressive symptoms. … The question is does the inflammation drive the depression or vice versa or is it just a coincidence? In experimental medicine studies if you treat a healthy individual with an inflammatory drug, like interferon, a substantial percentage of those people will become depressed. So we think there is good enough evidence for a causal effect.”

Inflammation is a symptom of an overactive immune system–hence the “immuno-neurology” Professor Bullmore believes is around the corner. When the immune system receives signals that indicate a threat, it triggers inflammation: It’s gathering blood cells and making other changes the body needs to heal a wound. These changes can lead to a depressed mood.

So scientists are planning formal trials using anti-inflammatory drugs to treat depression. Other tests have shown anti-inflammatory drugs work well as supplements to anti-depressants, but researchers are confident the anti-inflammatories will work well by themselves.

In the meantime, here are some tips for reducing inflammation from

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