Friday, July 20, 2007


Here is some good news if you like to get dirty: I just read in Discover magazine that a bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, found in soil may be a way to combat depression. The article noted that many researchers have linked a rise in asthma and allergies with our cleaner lifestyles. After giving lung cancer patients injections of Mycobacterium vaccae the patients reported less nausea and greater quality of life.

Immunologists and neurologists studying this found that this bacteria raises levels of serotonin. It targeted the same neurons that Prozac does. Christopher Lowry, a neuroscientist at the University of Bristol, believes that the bacteria activates immune cells. The immune cells may then release cytokines that increase activity on the sensory nerves. In an experiment with mice, the mice injected with this bacteria also swam four minutes compared to two and a half minutes in a stress response test. Maybe happier mice survive longer, or maybe there's a deeper cause. Lowry suggests that depression may be partly an inflammatory disorder. Here is a link to the original article.

Should you ditch your prescription? Who knows. I'm not a doctor. I just like to be happy. Imagine if a doctor prescribed gardening rather than Prozac. I don't know that many Americans would trust this kind of prescription. I think people like to be able to take a pill they think will solve everything. A magic panacea. American's have been told the importance of eating healthily for years alongside advertising for various fast food chains, yet which do most of us choose on a daily basis? Pharmaceutical advertising has just as strong of a hold on the American psyche. Since it's inception many more patients are prescribing themselves based on advertising. Well, there is also evidence that a healthy diet and exercise can be that magic panacea, but I don't see the majority buying that, yet.


Brady said...

my favorite argument against exercise is as follows:
we all know your heart "has a certain number of beats." So when I excercise and my heart beats faster, I'm taking time off my life.

Sadly I actually had more than one person use this, and they were serious.

Fucking idiots... I should "exercise" my right to buy a gun and do the world a favor.

Cassy said...

Wow. Brady, you're heart is going to beat faster from all that aggression and you're going to die faster.

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