Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Studies seek better understanding and treatment of depression

August 15, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Connecting the dots between two molecules whose levels are decreased in depression and increased by current antidepressants could yield new therapies, researchers say.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that enables brain cells to communicate and brain-derived neurotropic factor, or BDNF, is a brain-nourishing molecule that also aids connectivity. Popular antidepressants such as Prozac, developed to increase levels of serotonin, have recently been found to also increase BDNF levels, said Dr. Anilkumar Pillai, neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University.

"We don't know how the molecule, serotonin, which is well-studied in depression, regulates BDNF signaling," Pillai said. He's principal investigator on a five year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to help him make the connection

He suspects a critical piece is the protein transglutaminase 2, or TG2, expressed by brain cells and most other cell types. TG2 plays a role in natural serotonin recycling and potentially is a factor in the serotonin deficiency associated with depression. It also may help explain why levels of serotonin and BDNF seem to rise and fall in sync, Pillai said.

TG2 coverts serotonin to Rac1, a protein that helps rejuvenate BDNF receptors, which typically sit on the surface of brain cells but must periodically move inside to reinvigorate. Depression appears to upset the balance of these complex, critical inner workings. Pillai hypothesizes that the high levels he has found in depression, likely result in too much serotonin conversion leaving too little of the neurotransmitter to properly support brain cell communication. Instead, more Rac1 is produced but - inexplicably - its degradation also increases ultimately decreasing BDNF signaling as well.

Pillai has seen the unfortunate chain of events play out in an animal model with increased levels of TG2 and clear signs of depression. "If you can fix problems with the receptor, you should be able to reverse depressive symptoms in these mice," he said

One of the many questions he wants to answer is whether existing antidepressants impact TG2. To help clarify the role of the impaired BDNF receptors, Pillai also wants to know whether giving BDNF to the depressed animal model improves depression. He's using a viral particle to directly activate the BDNF receptor. And he's also giving the TG2 inhibitor cysteamine to an animal model developed by administering stress hormones. He recently published in the journal PLoS ONE findings that the inhibitor appears effective in normalizing depressive behavior and BDNF levels in that model. Mental stress is a major factor in numerous psychiatric disorders including depression, schizophrenia and anxiety, he noted.

Some antidepressants, such as Prozac, were designed to interfere with a natural recycling of serotonin called reuptake so more serotonin is available where needed to enable cell communication. Pillai said it's not yet clear if serotonin reuptake is the same thing as its conversion to Rac-1.

"We need to learn more about how all these pieces fit to ultimately design new therapies for depression and related psychiatric disorders," he said. Dr. Alvin V. Terry Jr., MCG pharmacologist, is co-investigator on the studies.

Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in Americans age 15-44, affects about 14.8 million adults and is more prevalent in women, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Georgia Health Sciences University


Related Depression Current Events and Depression News Articles


In Illinois, muskrats and minks harbor toxoplasmosis, a cat disease
A new study of muskrats and minks in central Illinois indicates that toxoplasmosis, a disease spread by cats, is moving rapidly through the landscape and contaminating local waterways.

'Friending' your way thin
If you want to lose pounds using an online weight management program, don't be a wallflower.

Feelings of loneliness and depression linked to binge-watching television
It seems harmless: getting settled in for a night of marathon session for a favorite TV show, like House of Cards.

Diet and nutrition essential for mental health
Evidence is rapidly growing showing vital relationships between both diet quality and potential nutritional deficiencies and mental health, a new international collaboration led by the University of Melbourne and Deakin University has revealed.

Women diagnosed with PCOS twice as likely to be hospitalized
Washington, DC--Women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome - the most common hormone disorder in women of reproductive age - face a heightened risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, mental health conditions, reproductive disorders and cancer of the lining of the uterus than healthy women.

MRIs link impaired brain activity to inability to regulate emotions in autism
Tantrums, irritability, self-injury, depression, anxiety. These symptoms are associated with autism, but they're not considered core symptoms of the disorder. Researchers from the UNC School of Medicine are challenging this assertion.

Beneficial effects of surgery for epilepsy are sustained for more than 15 years
Brain surgery for otherwise hard-to-treat epilepsy is effective for up to 15 years, according to a new survey by Henry Ford Hospital physicians.

Friends know how long you'll live, study finds
Young lovers walking down the aisle may dream of long and healthy lives together, but close friends in the wedding party may have a better sense of whether those wishes will come true, suggests new research on personality and longevity from Washington University in St. Louis.

Why should adolescents with psychological symptoms be asked about hallucinations?
Visual distortions and hallucinations related to an elevated risk of psychosis are linked to self-destructive thought processes among adolescents with psychological symptoms, tells the recent study conducted at the Helsinki University Hospital, Finland.

USC neuroscientists lead global ENIGMA consortium to crack brain's genetic code
In the largest collaborative study of the brain to date, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) led a global consortium of 190 institutions to identify eight common genetic mutations that appear to age the brain an average of three years.
More Depression Current Events and Depression News Articles

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
by Stephen S. Ilardi (Author)


In the past decade, depression rates have skyrocketed, and one in four Americans will suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. Where have we gone wrong? Dr. Stephen Ilardi sheds light on our current predicament and reminds us that our bodies were never designed for the sleep-deprived, poorly nourished, frenzied pace of twenty-first century life.Inspired by the extraordinary resilience of aboriginal groups like the Kaluli of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Ilardi prescribes an easy-to-follow, clinically proven program that harks back to what our bodies were originally made for and what they continue to need. The Depression Cure program has already delivered dramatic results, helping even those who have failed to respond to traditional medications.

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)
by Mark Williams (Author), John Teasdale (Author), Zindel Segal (Author), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Author)


If you’ve ever struggled with depression, take heart. Mindfulness, a simple yet powerful way of paying attention to your most difficult emotions and life experiences, can help you break the cycle of chronic unhappiness once and for all.

In The Mindful Way through Depression, four uniquely qualified experts explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of it” lead us deeper into the downward spiral. Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, they demonstrate how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination and self-blame, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience. Jon Kabat-Zinn gently and encouragingly narrates the accompanying...

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
by Kamal Ravikant (Author)


In December of 2011, I gave a talk to an audience of scientists, Pentagon officials, politicians, and CEOs on the secret of life and how I'd figured it out the previous summer. Afterwards, people came up individually and told me how much what I'd shared meant to them. This book is based on the truth I spoke about. It's something I learned from within myself, something I believed saved me. And more than that, the way I set about to do it. This is a collection of thoughts on what I learned, what worked, what didn't. Where I succeed and importantly, where I fail daily. The truth is to love yourself with the same intensity you would use to pull yourself up if you were hanging off a cliff with your fingers. As if your life depended upon it. Once you get going, it's not hard to do. Just...

Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
by Elisha Goldstein Ph.D. (Author)


In seven simple steps, Uncovering Happiness uses cutting-edge mindfulness and self-compassion techniques along with innovations in neuroscience to release natural antidepressants in the brain. Dr. Goldstein shows you how to take back control of your mind, your mood, and your life.

Most of us believe when we’re depressed that our situation is hopeless. That’s a mistake, Dr. Elisha Goldstein reassures us in Uncovering Happiness. The secret to overcoming depression and uncovering happiness is in harnessing our brain’s own natural antidepressant power and ultimately creating a more resilient antidepressant brain. Uncovering Happiness is grounded in two key foundations: mindfulness and self-compassion, and backed by recent scientific discoveries. New research shows that...

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-by-Step Program

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-by-Step Program
by Dr. William J Knaus EdD (Author), Albert Ellis PhD (Author)


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely used treatment for depression for one simple reason: it works. The CBT program in this workbook has helped thousands of readers defeat the depressive thoughts and beliefs that keep them from enjoying life and feeling like themselves. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression delivers evidence-based tools you can confidently use to do better, feel better, and prevent depression from coming back.Through a series of worksheets and exercises, you’ll evaluate your depression and learn key skills for overcoming it. Once you have your depression symptoms under control, you will appreciate the additional information on preventing relapse that is special to this new edition. This workbook also...

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You
by Richard O'Connor (Author)


Like heart disease, says psychotherapist Richard O'Connor, depression is fueled by complex and interrelated factors: genetic, biochemical, environmental. In this refreshingly sensible book, O'Connor focuses on an additional factor often overlooked: our own habits. Unwittingly we get good at depression. We learn how to hide it, how to work around it. We may even achieve great things, but with constant struggle rather than satisfaction. Relying on these methods to make it through each day, we deprive ourselves of true recovery, of deep joy and healthy emotion.

UNDOING DEPRESSION teaches us how to replace depressive patterns with a new and more effective set of skills. We already know how to "do" depression-and we can learn how to undo it. With a truly holistic approach that...

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
by Andrew Solomon (Author)


Winner of the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policy makers and politicians, drug designers and philosophers, Andrew Solomon reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease.

He confronts the challenge of defining the illness and describes the vast range of available medications, the efficacy of alternative treatments, and the impact the malady has on various demographic populations -- around the world and throughout history. He also explores the thorny patch of moral and ethical questions posed by emerging biological explanations for mental illness. With...

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
by David D. Burns (Author)


The good news is that anxiety, guilt, pessimism, procrastination, low self-esteem, and other "black holes" of depression can be cured without drugs. In Feeling Good, eminent psychiatrist, David D. Burns, M.D., outlines the remarkable, scientifically proven techniques that will immediately lift your spirits and help you develop a positive outlook on life. Now, in this updated edition, Dr. Burns adds an All-New Consumer′s Guide To Anti-depressant Drugs as well as a new introduction to help answer your questions about the many options available for treating depression.

- Recognise what causes your mood swings
- Nip negative feelings in the bud
- Deal with guilt
- Handle hostility and criticism
- Overcome addiction to love and approval
- Build self-esteem
-...

Talking to Depression: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed

Talking to Depression: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed
by Claudia J. Strauss (Author), Martha Manning (Foreword)


When someone suffers from depression, friends and family members naturally want to help—but too often their good intentions come out all wrong. This practical, compassionate guide helps readers understand exactly what their loved one is going through, and why certain approaches help and others have the potential to do damage. Talking to Depression offers specific advice on what to do and what not to do—and what to say and what not to say—to avoid frustration and give the kind of caring, effective support that will make a difference.

How to Help Someone with Depression (Updated)

How to Help Someone with Depression (Updated)


Can your loved one ever be happy again?

They need all the support we can get. But what should we say and how can we help to make sure they’re on the right track to living an optimistic life?

With a remarkably honest perspective, the author gives practical tips on how to help a loved one through depression without sabotaging an otherwise healthy relationship. Real life stories bring you into the world of depression to help you understand what they are going through.

Depression is not the end of the world. Your loved one can get better and happier!

"Laura is a struggling mother of three who works two jobs a day and juggles through her miscellaneous payments to make ends meet by the end of a week. Being a single mom has wreaked its toll...

© 2015 BrightSurf.com