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Tumors are Doubly Depressing

A diagnosis of cancer is obviously a good reason to be depressed. But new research finds that the feeling isn't just psychological: Tumors produce high levels of a chemical that can effect mood and make people feel down, according to The Week. Behavioral neuroscientists at the University of Chicago compared depression and anxiety rates in groups of rats with and without tumors. Since rats have no awareness that they have cancer, Dr. Brian Prendergast tells BBCnews.com, "their behavioral changes were likely the result of purely biological factors." He found that rats with cancer exhibited signs of depression and anxiety, gloating passively when placed in water while cancer-free rats swam for safety. The tumor-ridden rats also hoarded and buried objects they were given, and lost interest in eating sweets. The scientists believe that the anxious and depressive behavior is connected to levels of chemicals call cytokines, which are produced by tumors and also by the immune system when it's battling cancer. Rats with tumors had double the normal level of cytokines, which have a direct, depressing effect on emotional centers in the brain. Good thing to keep this in mind when you are with someone who's been diagnosed with a tumor. May you always be blessed with good health.
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