Q: I’ve battled depression for a long time, and I’ve tried antidepressants. At first they seem to work, but after a while not so much. Do you know of any other things that would make me feel better? -- Jessie G., Atlanta
A: Chronic depression can result from a variety of conditions or a combination of them: It can be a brain disease triggered by a genetic predisposition to a disruption of your mood-influencing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Depression is also a risk if you have an abnormal genetic vitamin process, so make sure you take half a multi with methyl folate twice a day. But depression also is associated with a chronic stress response (which elevates stress hormones that affect the brain) and as well as chronic pain, diabetes or being overweight.
While antidepressants and vitamins can be effective, they don’t help everyone. A new study out of Rice University might indicate why. It found that depression is linked to chronic, bodywide inflammation.
In some folks with depression, markers of inflammation called C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 are elevated by up to 50 percent. The study says, “Depression and inflammation are intertwined, fueling and feeding off each other.”
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The good news? The study also found that depression that resists treatment by traditional methods often eases if a person does inflammation-cooling yoga, meditation and exercise. You also can ease inflammation and depression by taking 900 mg daily of omega-3 DHA from algal oil and eliminating processed foods, red meat and added sugars and syrups from your diet.
So check out the yoga and meditation info at sharecare.com; start walking with a pedometer and a buddy, heading for 10,000 steps a day; and dive into 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies daily, 100 percent whole grains and healthy fats like EVOO. Note: DO NOT stop taking anti-depressants without talking to your doctor. Abruptly stopping can trigger serious side effects. And let us know how three months of this anti-inflammation routine makes you feel.
Q: My wife is due to give birth to our first child in three months, and I am nervous about bringing the baby home in the car. What’s the safest way to transport a newborn? -- Claude G., Wichita, Kansas
A: Congratulations, and while that’s a very smart question, you should realize that new-parent jitters are often, well, more jittery than necessary. You’ll do great! And so will mom and your infant child -- if you use a rear-facing car seat that’s 100 percent properly installed.
Unfortunately, 8,500 infants are injured in car accidents every year, but properly installed car seats can cut the injury rate by 71 percent. Problem is, installing them correctly isn’t that easy. A new study from Oregon Health & Science University examined the car-seat use of 291 families being discharged from the hospital with a healthy newborn. Fully 95 percent of parents made at least one error in car-seat use, and 91 percent made a serious error -- including a loose harness, loose car-seat installation, low chest clip and incorrect recline angle. Even a minor accident could cause an infant injury if those problems aren’t eliminated.
The solution? Buy your infant car seat early, read the accompanying installation instructions carefully and the instructions on car seats that come with your car. Then make an appointment to see a certified car-seat technician: They really exist! The National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program website can help locate one in your area. Your hospital should provide references too, and most firehouses have at least one expert available. In addition, after you install a car seat, you can have it inspected for safety. Safercar.gov and seatcheck.org offer a wealth of info on car seats, plus the location in your area of a child car-seat inspection station. Follow these steps, and when the day arrives you should be ready to bring your bundle of joy home safely.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at youdocsdaily(at sign)sharecare.com.