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The Inflamed Mind: A radical new approach to depression

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  333 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Worldwide, depression will be the single biggest cause of disability in the next 20 years. But treatment for it has not changed much in the last three decades. In the world of psychiatry, time has apparently stood still... until now. In this game-changing book, University of Cambridge Professor Edward Bullmore reveals the breakthrough new science on the link between depres ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 26th 2018 by Short Books Ltd
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3.87  · 
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 ·  333 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pre-ordered this on Amazon and it arrived at 10am this morning.
I've just completed it.
This is the book I've been waiting for and this is the book I hoped it would be when I pre-ordered it.

Everyone should read this book... as everyone will be touched by depression/anxiety at some point in their lives - either personally or themselves know someone else with mental health issues.

Everyone should read it... including GPs.

Anyone reading this who has at some point battled with depression themselves (an
Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych
I am a psychiatrist and have not only seen hundreds of patients with depression, but also experienced it for several years. Dr Bullmore belongs to the same professional organisation as myself: the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He has worked half-time for a large British pharmaceutical company since 2005.

I think the starting point about interventions for depression is that most people just need good support. One problem has been that 'support' is often seen as a low-cost option, while different
Peter Tillman
This one comes under the category of "books I won't read", but you have to say you're going to, to post at Goodreads. So.
Carol Tavris at the WSJ didn't think much of this one: [paywalled]
"The cover of “The Inflamed Mind” should immediately arouse a reader’s suspicions about the reliability of what lies within. The subtitle promises “a radical new approach to depression,” and the front flap of the dust jacket claims this is a “game-changing” book that “reve
Bookworm Ava
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book should be added to the set reading list for all trainee doctors and clinicians with immediate effect. It should also be available at all mental health charities. All libraries both university and public. It should be made available to anybody who works with children whether as a support worker or teacher, but more importantly for anybody who is a sufferer of mental health issues or who is a carer of one (I am both) please read this book. For all those who sit on charitable commissions, ...more
Literary Soirée
🧠 🧠 🧠 🧠 🧠

THE INFLAMED MIND: A RADICAL NEW APPROACH TO DEPRESSION shares groundbreaking research into the role of the immune system and inflammation in the development of depression. Edward Bullmore, among the first animmunopsychiatrists, shares the pioneering work being done in clinical neuroscience that impacts not only depression, but also schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. He describes the significant link between systemic inflammation and mental illness, heralding a new field of personal
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I gained from the book was not only how depression might be approached from an immunological perspective, but also a greater understanding of the history behind how we approach things in medicine and the limitations of the traditional Cartesian dualistic view, which is so inherent to the field that it may not be questioned by those practising medicine. I liked his honesty regarding the implications of what he has written about - that there is scepticism about the link between inflammation a ...more
Louise Christie
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal. I wanted to pull my hair at times over the descriptions of psychological explanations of depression, but, big but - the most satisfying book on depression I have ever read. Very uncomfortable reading this on the tube to work and then having to use CBT to treat depression when I got there. It's not enough.

A must read for anyone interested in depression, for anyone who has or loves someone with a long term health problem.

I think I need to read it again.

Please, someone I know, read it
Ting Tong
An intriguing discussion of how depression is potentially caused by inflammation in the body. Bullmore argues that in response to infection our immune system is designed to inflame and send macrophages, which release cytokines into the blood; these then signal to lymphocytes to produce needed antibodies. People with inflammation, indicated by higher levels of cytokines, have been more likely to display symptoms of depression. Bullmore takes pains to argue the evolutionary benefit of this which p ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall I found this book fascinating. The military metaphors for the immune system early on were a bit much, but I appreciated the accessibility of the content for non-medical readers. Most of all, I enjoyed seeing someone look at mental illness (and specifically depression) from a different angle. My family has a history of depression going back generations, and I'm being treated with the same therapies that my mother was (and is still) treated with when she was first diagnosed. So whether the ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The author has some interesting proposals, but he overreaches. Though I think he makes a decent case that inflammation is involved in depression, he pushes for it to have a central role on thin evidence. The book is also padded with tangents on Descartes, the immune system, and evolution - fairly basic stuff, as in white blood cells drawn as Pac-Men. I was uncertain whether to lean toward the good parts or the weaker parts, but if Carol Tavris rated it two stars, I'll go with her.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Professor Edward Bullmore is Head of the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge and a part-time consultant for GlaxoSmithKline.

His book is a summary of the most recent research linking depression to physical inflammation.
I found it absolutely fascinating. Bullmore’s suggestion is that patients are not simply depressed because of their physical symptoms, but that their depression is
Ashley Peterson
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
The Inflamed Mind: A Radical New Approach to Depression is written by psychiatrist Edward Bullmore, and presents inflammation as a new frontier in tackling depression.  The author's bio at the beginning of the book reveals that he works at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.  He doesn't try to be subtle about disclosing this, and I didn't pick up any sense of bias.  He explains that in 2010 GSK shut down its mental health research and development (R&D) programs, and this was what prompted ...more
Suzan Lemont
Interesting and exciting stuff laid out in a pretty accessible way for the layperson and lots of cute and entertaining anecdotes to lighten it up a bit. I found it a fascinating historical tutorial/ overview of various drug and other treatment modalities which even my chemist husband isn't aware of. But it's a bit grim/depressing at the end (there's no real help right now) and I was disappointed at the focus mainly on drug development and not on things like embodiment practices and expressive ar ...more
Sue Page
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic book, regardless of whether or not you have a medical or scientific interest in the topic. It's written with the careful consideration of a scientist-practitioner, who understands and acknowledges that we don't have all of the evidence and answers just yet, but who can see a path that he believes will take us to that future. The idea that some people could have their suffering relieved by immunological therapies is so exciting and tantalising, yet at the same time it makes me ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, e-books
Historically the medical world has treated the brain and the body separately as per the teachings of Descartes. We still do. And we do it in completely separate hospitals.
If the body is under attack it becomes inflamed as white blood cells and macrophages overreact and nuke the infection site, but what about the brain? Is it possible for a root canal to cause a couple of days of depression? Is the blood brain barrier permeable? This is the question that got the author thinking.
But under US conve
Beth Duffus
I wanted to like this book. Bullmore is right, at least, in noting that “therapeutic progress [in psychiatry] has stalled in the last 30 years”, and that doctors still have little to offer other than SSRIs and talking therapies, helpful though they are to many people.

The book is, however, full of contradictions and unsubstantiated claims. That bodily inflammation might cause a lowering of mood is an interesting enough theory but that is all it is. Bullmore fails to back this claim with any kind
Erik Surewaard
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow! This book was a real eye opener for me. It first of all gave a thorough view on how depression has been treated, this historically up to today. The author clearly shows that unfortunately much is still to be understood about the workings of the brain... the state-of-art on what causes depression and how it is treated has progressed only little over the past three decadeds. This contrary to other fields of medical study, which have progressed way more...

I especially liked how the author desc
Jennifer Sullivan
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book! As someone who is totally into medical/pop psych books, I highly recommend adding this to your personal library :-)

The author, a former employee of Glaxo, Smith, Kline , wrote this book to challenge the DSM 5's definition of depression. In short, the DSM 5 does not allow a clinician to diagnose major depressive disorder ("depression as we know it") if the patient has an existing bodily disorder. In the example used, the patient could not be diagnosed with depression - even
John Riley
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
As a new Psychiatric PA I was excited to read something on the “cutting-edge” of psychiatry to try and get a better understanding of where the field is heading theoretically and what the future of mental health practice may hold. While Dr. Bullmore does an excellent job of presenting his hypotheses regarding immunology and various medical disorders (chiefly MDD), his ideas seem better suited for a journal article than a book. The same ideas/clinical examples/history lessons are repeated over and ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This was very interesting. The author explores the possibility that depression is linked to inflammation in the body, not just low serotonin levels, which aren't readily measurable. I am not a physician or psychiatrist by trade, but still found this very readable. I thought the chapter covering the evolution of genetic factors for strong inflammation response to survive infection and illness was particularly engaging. However, while the author mentioned obesity as one of many contributors to hig ...more
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dr Bullimore's research and clinal work has led him to support the hypothesis that chronic inflammation can, and does, lead to depression in some patients. Through the long history of psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapeutics since the days of Freud, there have been few breakthroughs in the treatment of people with depression, and no real insights into potential causes. We have serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (but they've been around since the 1990s) and more recently there’s cognitive behavio ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Edward Bullmore's book is both amazing and disappointing. It's amazing because his writing is refreshingly clear as he lays out his thesis about inflammation's role in depression. He explains the nascent field of psycho-immunology and how much has been learned about the immune system 30 years. He also documents the weaknesses inherent in contemporary mental health-care, which is based on the ages-old Cartesian separation of mind and body.

The book is disappointing, however, because any treatment
Mandy Blackspoon
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book manages to explain a complex set of ideas which reveals the truth of how important immunology is to human health and disease. A few times I wondered why Bulmore was talking about philosophical approaches and ideologies of medicine from the 17th century but if you stick with the subject it adds much need background to why there has not been investment in mental health in the last 30 years, and makes his conclusions and predictions credible if not a little but optimistic. I appreciated t ...more
Anastasia Alén
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Inflammation causes depression... That's a new one. I think author had a lot of good points throughout the book and I think I got his point: we need to stop the current medication for depression and try to come with alternative treatments and that actual problem might be the inflammation, however it was really hard to get that it was what he meant. I hope it was.

I'm not sure to whom this book is intended. For depressed person, it seems way too biological and it's basically ignoring everything el
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was very odd to read - he sets out to convince you that depression is CAUSED by inflammation. I found the idea plausible and exciting. But he doesn't seem to have the research or data available to back him up, and he seems more interested in convincing you of how smart/right he is than he is interested in outlining next steps for the field.

He also seems to be claiming that the industry is not interested in performing further research into different treatment modalities for depression and s
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book presents very interesting theories and ideas about depression. How it's always been treated as a disease of the mind and as such considered separately from physical illnesses. But research is starting to indicate that perhaps in some cases depression could be a result of inflammation of the brain.

The brain in times past was considered to be separated and protected totally from the body by the blood brain barrier, something that investigators are beginning to believe to be not as much
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Investigating the relatively new field of neuro immunology (or immuno psychiatry) Bullmore pulls together a number of theoretical threads to make a case for physical inflammation being a direct causen of depression. Whilst anti inflammatory drugs have not been tested in clinical trials for their anti depressant qualities - and therefore the jury remains out on the hypothesis - Bullmore is a talented enough practitioner (initially a physician who crossed the rubicon to psychiatry) as well as a sk ...more
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
It seemed plausible to me as a line for further research.

"If my arm is broken I can at least count on the cheerful support of people around me. There will probably be an entertaining story to tell about how it happened, perhaps some thrillingly gory details to share, and other people will generally be happy to listen, to sympathise, to tell in return their own war stories, and to pass on their nuggets of medical advice. But if my mind is broken I can count on none of this. if I am depressed -- j
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
While the idea the writer is sharing is certainly interesting and fascinating (physical inflamation causes depression) the book goes on and on and on and on around this premisse without going much further. While I understand this research topic is in it's infancy, and there are not many scientifical studies to quote, I find the book relies too much on few anecdotal examples (mrs. P who I encountered 30 years ago..). From time to time there are breakthroughs in the story, which catched my attenti ...more
Belinda Macdonald
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting alternative view on causes and potential new treatment approaches for depression and other psychiatric disorders. It helps to have a basic understanding of human biology but explanatory diagrams are there for those without background knowledge. As someone with a background in Immunology and the experience of living with mental health challenges within the family I was intrigued by the hypothesis being put forward. I will be watching and waiting, with fingers crossed, for develop ...more
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“we are beginning to understand that the immune system could also be able to remember childhood episodes of assault or famine or any other severe threat to the self’s early survival. Child abuse survivors may enter adult life with their immune system set on a hair-trigger, poised to react to minor infections and social setbacks with a disproportionate inflammatory response that causes depressive symptoms.” 1 likes
“know that depression is heritable – it runs in families – so your risk of being depressed is increased approximately three-fold if both your parents are depressed and increased approximately two-fold if one or more of your siblings is depressed” 0 likes
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