A study in Denmark has shown that getting an infection increases your chance of suffering from a mood disorder. A study of people suffering from mood disorders as shown that one in every three people who have been diagnosed for the first time had been to the hospital before with an infection.
The largest study of its kind to date to show a clear correlation between infection levels and the risk of developing mood disorders, researchers from Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen as well as Johns Hopkins University in the USA are behind the study which covered around 3 million Danes.
Says Michael Eriksen Benrós, MD and PhD from Aarhus University and Psychiatric Centre Copenhagen, “Our study shows that the risk of developing a mood disorder increases by 62% for patients who have been admitted to hospital with an infection. In other words, it looks as though the immune system is somehow involved in the development of mood disorders.”
According to Michael Eriksen Benrós, the increased risk of mood disorders can be explained by the fact that infections affect the brain: “Normally, the brain is protected by the so-called blood-brain barrier (BBB), but in the case of infections and inflammation, new research has shown that the brain can be affected on account of a more permeable BBB. We can see that the brain is affected, whichever type of infection or autoimmune disease it is. Therefore, it is naturally important that more research is conducted into the mechanisms which lie behind the connection between the immune system and mood disorders,” says Michael Eriksen Benrós. He expressed the hope that further research into this connection could lead to a better understanding and treatment of mood disorders.