Monday, March 12, 2012

Depression: Evolutionary byproduct of the ability to fight infection?

Depression is common enough - afflicting one in ten adults in the United States - that it seems the possibility of depression must be "hard-wired" into our brains.

This has led biologists to propose several theories to account for how depression, or behaviors linked to it, can somehow offer an evolutionary advantage.

Some previous proposals for the role of depression in evolution have focused on how it affects behavior in a social context. A pair of psychiatrists addresses this puzzle in a different way, tying together depression and resistance to infection.

They propose that genetic variations that promote depression arose during evolution because they helped our ancestors fight infection. Read More