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World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates suggest 300 Million people suffer from Depression

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United Nations, April 1, 2017: More than 300 million people are living with depression, according to the latest estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The UN agency released the estimates on Thursday ahead of World Health Day. “These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves,” Xinhua news agency quoted a WHO news release as saying.

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With the number of people with depression increasing more than 18 percent from 2005 to 2015, WHO is carrying out a year-long campaign, Depression: Let’s Talk, the focus of April 7’s World Health Day, with the aim of encouraging more people with depression to get help.

Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives. Depression is an important risk factor for suicide, which claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year, says the report. One of the first steps is to address issues around prejudice and discrimination.

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“The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign Depression: let’s talk,” said Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery.”

Increased investment is also needed. In many countries, there is no, or very little, support available for people with mental health disorders. Even in high-income countries, nearly 50 per cent of people with depression do not get treatment. On average, just three percent of government health budgets is invested in mental health, varying from less than one percent in low-income countries to five percent in high-income countries, says the report. (IANS)

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Bacteria in The Gut May Lead to Anxiety, Depression

The researchers are now working to identify specific populations of bacteria involved in these processes and the molecules that the bacteria produce

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Bacteria in The Gut May Lead to Anxiety, Depression
Bacteria in The Gut May Lead to Anxiety, Depression. Pixabay

Gut bacteria plays a key role in infusing negative feelings in the brains of obese people, causing depression and anxiety, researchers say.

The findings showed that mice on a high-fat diet showed significantly more signs of anxiety, depression and obsessive behaviour than animals on standard diets.

In mice with high-fat diets, two areas of the brain, the hypothalamus, which helps to control whole body metabolism, and the nucleus accumbens, important in mood and behaviour, becomes insulin resistant.

“Your diet isn’t always necessarily just making your blood sugar higher or lower; it’s also changing a lot of signals coming from gut microbes and these signals make it all the way to the brain,” said C. Ronald Kahn, from the Joslin Diabetes Centre in the US.

“But all of these behaviours are reversed or improved when antibiotics that will change the gut microbiome were given with the high fat diet,” Kahn added.

Gut Bacteria.
Gut Bacteria. Pixabay

In the study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the team identified the effect of the microbiome by transferring gut bacteria from experimental mice to germ-free mice which did not have any bacteria of their own.

The animals which received bacteria from mice on a high-fat diet began to show increased levels of activity associated with anxiety and obsessive behaviour.

However, those who got microbes from mice on a high-fat diet plus antibiotics did not, even though they did not receive the antibiotics themselves.

Also Read: Depression, Anxiety May Lead to Teeth Loss

The researchers are now working to identify specific populations of bacteria involved in these processes and the molecules that the bacteria produce.

“If we could modify those bacteria, either by putting in more beneficial bacteria or reducing the number of harmful bacteria, that might be a way to see improved behaviour,” Kahn noted. (IANS)