Children with higher blood levels of a protein associated with inflammation and infection are at greater risk of developing depression and psychosis in adulthood
This is according to new research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, which suggests a role for the immune system in mental illness.
When we are exposed to an infection our immune system fights back; during this process, immune cells flood the blood stream with proteins such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), an “inflammatory marker”, which rises in response to infection and falls back to normal physiological levels when the illness subsides.
This research was lead by Dr Golam Khandaker and Professor Peter Jones, University of Cambridge, Department of Psychiatry. More information here.