Sold out Hodge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Immunology Annual meeting and Public Lecture
5 December 2019
Professor Neil Harrison, from Cardiff University, delivered a sold out Public Lecture titled Inflammation and Depression too much of a good thing? at the Hodge Centre's annual Public Lecture on 21 November.
Professor Neil Harrison leads the Immunopsychiatry Research Group based at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) and the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences. His research investigates how the body’s immune system interacts with the brain to alter mood, motivation, cognition and contribute to common mental illnesses such as depression, Myalgic Encephalisits/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease.
Following a glowing introduction from NMHRI Director, Professor Jeremy Hall, Professor Harrison delivered an insightful and fascinating lecture on how catching an infection changes our behaviour. In his talk Professor Harrison discussed how the immune system acts on the brain to rapidly change our behaviour, how this may lead to the development of depression and highlighted the development of new immunotherapies designed to reverse these processes.
Professor Harrison said "When we feel fatigued or low in mood, our thoughts and actions slow down and we struggle to concentrate and find the motivation to complete tasks. It is now clear that these behaviours are a deliberate and carefully coordinated response to infection designed to assist the immune system in quickly removing the infecting organism.
When the inflammation is severe or prolonged, persistent activation of brain ‘sickness circuits’ can have more serious consequences including development of clinical depression and possibly chronic fatigue".
The Hodge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Immunology brings together expert researchers in both Neuroscience and Immunology to focus on the immune processes in mental health disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Schizophrenia.
For an audio of the lecture and accompanying slides please download the file below: