To be able to treat and avoid the onset of depression, it is necessary to know more information about the brain and body of people who are affected by the disease of the century, reports Science Alert.
Around 5% of the world's population suffers from depression. Photo: Archive
Interestingly, a number of studies have found a link between depressive symptoms and body temperature.
Scientists led by a team from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) studied data from 20,880 people. This data was obtained over seven months, and the researchers found that those suffering from depression had higher body temperatures.
Despite the fact that the study was carried out very carefully, with participants from 106 countries, it is not solid evidence that the higher body temperature is responsible for the onset of depression or that this disease causes the body temperature to rise.
However, this indicates that there is some connection that is worth investigating.
“To our knowledge, this is the largest study to date investigating the association between body temperature—assessed by both self-report methods and wearable sensors—and depressive symptoms in a geographically broad sample” said Ashley Mason, a psychiatrist at UCSF.
Depression is a complex condition
According to the authors of the study, there could be a number of factors that could contribute in this regard. It is possible that depression is associated with metabolic processes that have the effect of raising the temperature, or biological cooling functions that do not work normally. Or it could be a common cause, such as stress or inflammation, that impacts both body temperature and depressive symptoms separately.
This is something that could be studied in the future. For now, depression is known to be a complex condition that probably has a lot of triggers, and body temperature could be one factor.
Previous research has found that hot baths and saunas can alleviate symptoms of depression, albeit in small groups of people.
“Paradoxically, increasing body temperature can lead to a decrease in body temperature that lasts longer than simply cooling the body directly, such as an ice bathMason said. “What if we could monitor the body temperature of people with depression to plan heat treatments?”
According to the study results, the more severe the depression symptoms reported by the study participants became, the higher the average body temperature. Some association between high depression scores and daily temperature fluctuations was also reported, but at a statistically insignificant level.
With around 5% of the world's population suffering from depression, greater efforts are needed to understand and effectively treat this illness.
The study was published in Scientific Reports.