Smoke Detector Principle musings

Today in class we discussed the optimal regulation of threat detection –  the smoke detector principle – a concept introduced by Randy Nesse MD to explain apparent maladaptive behavioral responses, such as panic disorder.

We also discussed evidence for  a linkage between pathogen defense and depression/anxiety, the PATHOS D hypothesis, which will be the subject of a future entry on this blog.

Tying the two ideas together, we speculated that exposure to childhood infectious disease might play a role in shaping the risk for depression and anxiety in adulthood.  We speculated that if the PATHOS-D model is correct, we should see a relationship between a history of breastfeeding, which is well known to modulate the risk of infant diarrhea and infectious mortality in childhood, and the incidence of later depression/anxiety.

It turns out that such a relationship has been published:

This article is entitled “Breast feeding and resilience against psychosocial stress” by Montgomery and Ehlin.

 

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