Japanese scientists have identified a protein that thrives in the human brain on fatigue and stress and dramatically increases the likelihood of depression – a breakthrough that may lead to improved diagnosis and treatment.
It has long been understood that over-tiredness and stress are some of the root causes of depression, but researchers at Jikei University’s School of Medicine have determined that the protein is triggered by a virus. They also estimate that someone with the protein is more than 12 times more likely to develop mental health problems.
The scientists’ findings were released in early June in the iScience online publication.
“The fact that over-fatigue leads to depression seemed to be self-evident, but it has never actually been verified until now”, said Professor Kazuhiro Kondo, a virologist and one of the lead scientists on the project.
“We were able to uncover a part of the mechanism of how depression