IBTimes UK

Depression is not just a mental disorder but is a systemic disease with significant association with cancer and cardiovascular diseases, according to a study led by the University of Granada. By causing important alterations of oxidative stress, depression affects the whole organism.

The study analysed 29 previous studies comprising 3961 people and in particular looked at the imbalance between various oxidative stress parameters and the decrease in antioxidants. Those who received treatment showed lower levels of biomarker indicating stress and high antioxidant levels.

The lead author of this work is Sara Jiménez Fernández, PhD student at the UGR and psychiatrist at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit at Jaén Medical Center (Jaén, Spain). The team hopes that the work could help develop new therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of depression.

Many studies have been showing that depression has deeper implications that go beyond low levels of neurotransmitter serotonin. Following the death of actor Robin Williams who committed suicide and was believed to suffer from depression, much debate has risen on its causes and effects. According to the World Health Organization, more than 350 million globally suffer from depression.

Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder. But while a majority of people who commit suicide suffer from depression, it is less than 4 percent among them who take their lives. Many times, people who die by suicide have an alcohol or substance abuse problem also.