Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cancer Linked to Depression?

It's perfectly understandable that having cancer could plunge anyone into depression. However, a study conducted in 2009 has hinted at the possibility that it could also occur the other way around: being seriously depressed could be indicative of an underlying cancer. Should this theory prove to be correct, then people diagnosed with depression would be prescribed to undergo various medical tests to detect tumors instead of the usual antidepressants.

As written by Colette Bouchez in her 2009 blogpost, this premise has been featured online, discussed under the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Accordingly, neuroscientists from the University of Chicago have found viable proof identifying hidden tumors to be the culprit behind the biochemical changes alluding to depression. With this comes the possibility that depression could strike the patient long before the actual formation of the cancerous tumor.

However, although researchers hold strongly to their belief that depression could have resulted from biochemical changes directly induced by the tumor cells, no confirmed explanations exist regarding the exact causes that brought them about. However, according to one theory, the reason could be traced to cytokines, immune cells that ward off illnesses, whose reaction to bacterial infections is through behavioral alterations.

Contributed By: Maris Modesto

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