Could Alzheimer’s and Depression Share Genetic Roots? Several years ago, I was asked to give a 45-minute lecture to physicians entitled “Mycotoxin Induced Brain Hacking.” Mycotoxins are poisons made by fungus and YES, some are neurotoxic, so it seems fitting that they could cause both Depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Now comes a new study in Biological Psychiatry that contends that both Depression and Alzheimer’s disease not only share common genetic factors, but that Depression seems to set the stage for the development of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Here is what I included in my lecture.
1. Mycotoxins are genotoxic and as such can mutate human genes leading to neurotoxic diseases like Depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Penicillin was defined as “neurotoxic” in 1945.
3. Alcoholic beverages are neurotoxic.
4. A Spanish team of medical researchers examined the brain and blood vessels of 21 cadavers, investigating their cause of death. In 11, they discovered “several fungal species” growing in the brains and other tissues, while the other 10 had no fungal growth. The 11 cadavers with fungal growth all died of Alzheimer’s disease. None of the remaining 10 died of the disease.
5. Does inhaling mold cause depression? This study (Environmental Health Perspective, 2007 Nov; 115(11): A536) involved 5,882 adults. “We thought that once we statistically accounted for factors that could clearly contribute to depression – things like employment status and crowding – we would see any link (depression/fungus) vanish,” said Shenassa, the lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Community Health at Brown. “But the opposite was true. We found a solid association between depression and living in a damp, moldy home.”
Mycotoxins like antibiotics and alcohol are known to be neurotoxic. Is it possible that for some individuals, rounds of antibiotics and alcohol induce genetic changes that predisposes one to Depression and/or Alzheimer’s disease?