Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Major depressive disorder’

Richard Simmons. Cropped from a photo by Del F...Image via Wikipedia The Wall Street Journal just ran a piece on the growing use of electro-convulsive (“shock”) therapy in elderly patients suffering from severe depression. While the clinical evidence may show this approach is effective – albeit scary – it is notable that another study published on the same day by Hunsberger et al., entitled, “Antidepressant actions of the exercise-regulated gene VGF(DOI). This paper reveals that a number of genes possessing antidepressant-like properties are induced by exercise. Yes, good old fashioned walkin’ and sweatin’. A few clinical trials have shown that, in older people especially, exercise is just as effective as anti-depressant medications. Furthermore, exercise seems to increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus in a manner that is parallel to anti-depressants. One of the genes induced by exercise, a growth factor named VGF, produces anti-depressant responses when administered into the mouse brain, while +/- hemizygous VGF animals show increased physiological and behavioral signs of stress. The authors point to the role of structural synaptic changes in long-term relief of depression, rather than short term increases in serotonin, but -ironically – note that VGF would be a great candidate for drug development. Hmmm, seems like I’ll skip the meds and the electrodes, and get to sweatin’ with a Richard Simmons video.*

*For the record, I do not currently own a Richard Simmons video.

Related articles by Zemanta

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Read Full Post »

Oil on canvasImage via Wikipedia The recent paper, “Genetic Markers of Suicidal Ideation Emerging During Citalopram Treatment of Major Depression” finds that among 68 candidate genes, markers for 2 AMPA-type glutamate receptors (rs4825476, rs2518224: GRIA3 and GRIK2) show significant association in 120 individuals who experienced suicidal ideation in a large medication trial for major depressive disorder. Many families with loved ones suffering from depression remain wary and confused about a possible causal relationship between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants and suicide. A current FDA-mandated black box warning advises youths on the potential risks. This recent genetic study seems to provide a meaningful step forward in better understanding the mechanism of shifts in mood and cognition that occur in some individuals. But like many brain research studies though, shining a tiny ray of light on a puzzle suddenly illuminates massive complexities, previously unseen. A great deal of research shows that SSRI exposure leads to long lasting changes in AMPA receptor expression, localization and function, – but it’s unclear where a specific link between this and changes in mood and cognition will be drawn.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Read Full Post »

An image of a 1901 examination in the faculty ...
Image via Wikipedia

I much enjoyed Helen Mayberg’s October 13th podcast, “Paths to Recovery in Major Depression: Insights from Functional Neuroimaging” hosted by Science & the City, the webzine of the NY Academy of Science. One comment that stuck with me was her mention of ‘brain-based algorithms’ for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Indeed, from her talk, there are many brain regions involved in the regulation of mood and that individuals who experience depression may show poor activity in any or all of these brain regions. Also, Dr. Mayberg shows that these various brain regions may be more or less responsive to drug- vs. talk-based therapies. This seems like a major step forward in personalized medicine in psychiatry and perhaps might be augmented by other biomarkers. Presently, scanning is somewhat cumbersome relative to current drug-trial-and-error regimens, but the benefits of recovery far, far outweigh the costs of a lifetime of chronic illness.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts