A new UCSF led study, published in PLoS ONE, found that people who suffer from certain cases of major depression may have an elevated risk of suffering from serious illness. Important to note is that it’s the length of time the individual goes untreated that seems to be the critical factor. People with long-term depression who go untreated for a long period of time have a higher risk of getting sick from other physical diseases because their immune cells age faster. More specifically, individuals who were tested whom had been untreated for their chronic depression for 9 years had a corresponding 7 years of “accelerated cell aging”.
As a next step, UCSF researchers plan to replicate these preliminary findings in a larger sample of depressed individuals in order to explain why certain people develop shortened telomeres and physical disease, and how that process can be combated. Depressed individuals not taking antidepressants are currently being enrolled for this ongoing study, and interested participants may inquire at (415) 476-7254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.