[Paleopsych] Lipids, depression and suicide

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Thu Apr 21 00:50:27 UTC 2005

Barbara Tuchman's well-known A Distant Mirror characterized the 13th 
Century as a time likewise very high in rate of change. Generally, human 
societies often change rapidly, and the notion that we change more than 
others is probably a mistake. That said, it is possible that the 
structure of belief in the 13th Century did buffer the stress from the 
changes. Clearly, a belief in God is empirically related to better 
coping, lower stress, and so forth.

Christian Rauh wrote:

> Could it be that a less predictable future have more to do than the 
> belief in God? Maybe things are changing too fast for us to cope.
> Christian
> Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. wrote:
>> Diet: This is a good point, and one I have considered. However, the 
>> history of a rise in depression pre-dates the low fat fad.  In the 
>> 1960s the trend was already appearing, with people of my generation 
>> being at higher risk of depression than my own grandparents. 
>> Therefore, Seligman argues more in favor of changing values. I think 
>> you are correct that diet may also play a role, but it is not the 
>> whole picture.
>> I put in the Horatius at the gate segments because the notion is that 
>> if nothing is worth dying for, then nothing is worth living for. 
>> One's willingness to give one's life in service of a higher value is 
>> a source of great strength and happiness. This appears to be an 
>> empirical finding, and illustrates the role of values and social 
>> norms in reducing depression.
>> "and how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes 
>> of his fathers and the temples of his gods . . ."  The man / woman 
>> who deeply believes this has something great to live for, knows 
>> his/her position in life, and feels a deep connection with 
>> forebearers / posterity ('child upon her breast').  This seems to 
>> immunize against depression.
>> Lynn
>> Steve Hovland wrote:
>>> Lipids, depression and suicide
>>> by
>>> Colin A, Reggers J, Castronovo V, Ansseau M.
>>> Assistante Clinique, Universite de Liege,
>>> CUP La Clairiere, Bertrix.
>>> Encephale 2003 Feb;29(Pt 1):49-58
>>> Polyunsatured fatty acids are made out of a hydrocarbonated chain of 
>>> variable length with several double bonds. The position of the first 
>>> double bond (w; omega) differentiates polyunsatured w3 fatty acids 
>>> (for example: alpha-linolenic acid or a-LNA) and polyunsatured w6 
>>> fatty acids (for example: linoleic acid or LA). These two classes of 
>>> fatty acids are said to be essential because they cannot be 
>>> synthetised by the organism and have to be taken from alimentation. 
>>> The w3 are present in linseed oil, nuts, soya beans, wheat and cold 
>>> water fish whereas w6 are present in maize, sunflower and sesame 
>>> oil. Fatty acids are part of phospholipids and, consequently, of all 
>>> biological membranes. The membrane fluidity, of crucial importance 
>>> for its functionning, depends on its lipidic components. 
>>> Phospholipids composed of chains of polyunsatured fatty acids
>>> The rest of the story:  http://www.biopsychiatry.com/lipidsmood.htm
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