Written on Sunday, January 06, 2008 by Gemini
Scientists from Tel Aviv University recently linked depression to a biological mechanism that affects the olfactory glands. It might explain why some women, without realising it, wear too much perfume. Scientific research that supports this theory was published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.
“Our scientific findings suggest that women who are depressed are also losing their sense of smell, and may overcompensate by using more perfume,” explains Prof Yehuda Shoenfeld, a member of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. “We also believe that depression has biological roots and may be an immune system response to certain physiological cues.”
Shoenfeld draws his conclusions from research on autoimmune diseases, focusing on conditions such as lupus, arthritis and rheumatism.
More than a feeling
Affecting millions around the world, depression accompanying lupus – Shoenfeld has found – is much more than an emotional reaction to being ill. It appears to have a biological cause. In lupus patients and those with other auto-immune diseases, a particle known as an ‘autoantibody’ attacks the person’s own immune system; appearing in the human body as an aberrant reaction to autoimmune diseases.
This particle “is a real novelty,” says Shoenfeld. “We have found that, when generated, it weakens a person’s sense of smell and can induce the feeling of depression.” Scientists today widely accept the fact that people with Alzheimer’s disease lose their sense of smell. Prof Shoenfeld’s research is the first that links depression to smell in lupus patients, however.
Shoenfeld also suggests that a standardised “smell test” could be used by doctors to help diagnose depression as well as autoimmune diseases.If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to our feed