The Inflamed Mind – Inflammation & Depression – A Book Review

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Author of the newly released book about inflammation and depression, “The Inflamed Mind”, Edward Bullmore, is a highly qualified and well recognised medical professional.

As well as having both a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree. Bullmore is also the Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge…

So, this guy certainly knows his stuff!

What Bullmore has put together, is a book that talks about his own fascination with the mind. Accompanied with the effects that inflammation within the body have upon it.

However, to help explain his ideology, he has used and sighted many different studies. He talks about a variety of topics, including the brain, the immune system and mental health.

Whilst I’m no doctor, professor or great academic, I will do my best to give an honest opinion and summarise a lot of the things that Bullmore talks about in this book!

Depression will be the single biggest cause of disability worldwide in the next 20 years. And yet the treatment for it has not changed much in the last three decades. In psychiatry, time has apparently stood still… until now.

A Brief Summary

The book near enough starts with Bullmore giving an example.

An example of when he felt depressed after having a bad root canal experience and an operation to help with an infected tooth. It was this and an experience with a patient suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis that seemed to really get ideas floating around in his head.

The main idea behind the whole premise of the book is that inflammation which occurs in a person’s immune system can change the way the brain works, causing a person to feel depressed. However, this is something that most people in the medical profession will not acknowledge due to something known as the Cartesian divide (also known as Dualism).

Dualism-Inflammation

The Cartesian divide is essentially the idea that the mind and the body are separate and that the brain is generally unaffected by the changes in the immune system throughout the body. This is because of something known as the “Blood Brain Barrier”.

Bullmore goes on to delve a lot deeper into the workings of the immune system. He does this whilst also revealing that the Cartesian divide may not be such a scientifically accurate idea and explains his reasons why… 

Throughout the book, Bullmore expands his writing to talk about various aspects of mental health, inflammation and the drugs that are used in “helping” with depression.

He also mentions the infamous Prozac and how anti-depressants were discovered accidentally, whilst trying to find a remedy for tuberculosis.

antidepressants-inflammation

As well as giving us several different insights into inflammation and depression. Bullmore also helps to enlighten those of us who don’t work within the medical profession. He does this by telling us that the funding for anti-inflammatory drugs (to help with the management of mental health issues) is incredibly hard to come by and explains the reasons why.

He concludes by expressing his hopes that over the next 5, 10 or 20 years, we will see a lot more progress towards developing treatments for depression and other psychiatric disorders.

My Thoughts

Overall, this book was a really interesting read.

It has helped me to further understand the immune system, inflammation and the overall structure of psychiatric disorders. The book has also helped me to learn and understand more about mental health issues and medical science in general.

However, the medical jargon throughout the book got a little bit much for me at times and I often felt that I’d been taken off on a bit of a tangent…

Bullmore does his best to make things fairly simple and easy to understand and I personally found the use of diagrams to be a big help in understanding and visualising some of the things he describes.

inflammation diagrams

The problems arise for me, however, when Bullmore talks to the reader about multiple different studies. This is where a lot of the jargon comes out to play and you can get a little bit lost, confused and overwhelmed if you’re not in the medical profession yourself.

However, medical science is a hard thing to simplify and the Professor makes so many good points in as simple a way as possible. It’s just that they’re not always easy to get your head around!

Whilst not always easy to understand, it was refreshing to read a book which saw a medical professional take on a different approach to his peers. It was also encouraging to see that there is an effort to find out more on the link between inflammation and depression.

As mentioned in the short summary above, there is also an interesting part in the book where he speaks about the funding of anti-inflammatory drugs, for a psychological purpose.

This chapter enlightened me, as to the fact that there may be hundreds or thousands of drugs out there that could potentially cure/treat people. However, they’ve just not had the experimental and financial backing of the pharmaceutical companies.

My Overall Opinion

This book was definitely not what I initially thought it was about…

At first, I thought the book would be more about how depression causes our body to suffer from higher levels of inflammation. 

However, it turned out to be the complete opposite!

To sum up this book, I would say that it’s well worth a read if you have the patience and are willing to do a little bit of work or re-read certain paragraphs multiple times to understand the science behind what Bullmore talks about.

All-in-all, “The Inflamed Mind” is a thought-provoking read and one that may help to explain a few basic principles to us, of how our physical health dictates our mental health. 

Proving that depression is not simply “all in the mind”…

Pricing & Availability

At the moment, I believe that this book is available all around the world, except from the USA & Canada. I picked up my copy from Waterstones, but you can find it online from Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmiths and shortbooks.co.uk.

My copy is a hardback and cost me £14.99.

The book is priced at £10.49 on both Amazon and WHSmiths, £12.99 online at Waterstones and £14.99 at Shortbooks.

inflammation book screenshot

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about “The Inflamed Mind” then I’ve left a couple of videos below which do a great job of explaining the fundamental idea behind Edward Bullmore’s book and his theory.

These videos are a great starting point if you’re considering buying the book!

 

 

For all my other posts, head back to the tylerwhite.blog homepage, or click on one of the posts below:

 

 

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