Thomas Ramey Watson

Happiness, depression and even mental illness really can be catching

“It used to be thought that the immune system and the nervous system were worlds apart,” says John Bienenstock of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.

Now it seems the immune system, and infections that stimulate it, can influence our moods, memory

and ability to learn.

Some strange behaviours, such as obsessive compulsive dis order, may be triggered by infections, and the immune system may even shape our basic personalities, such as how anxious

or impulsive we are.

The good news is that understanding these links between the brain and immune system could lead to new ways of treating all kinds of disorders, from depression to Tourette’s syndrome.

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