Markers for Melancholy

Posted on March 8, 2014

New treatments that are being considered for depression include reduced response to stress, restoration of the appropriate balance of neurotransmitters, and neuronal generation and regulation in the hippocampus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands.

Depression involves, in part, dysfunctions in the perception of, response to, and interpretation of emotions. Research is now focusing on biomarkers that are involved in the pathophysiology of depression, which may lead to improved treatments.

For the better part of a century, depression has been approached as a deficiency in specific neurotransmitters in the brain. Pharmacological treatments for depression have relied on increasing the release or blocking the destruction of these neurotransmitters, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Still, these therapies are only able to induce remission in approximately half of patients with depression, leaving many patients suffering and in need of help.

The drive for new treatment options has allowed researchers to focus on neuron density in regions of the brain that are involved in emotions. They have discovered that the body’s response to stress has a significant impact on the generation and destruction of neurons and that inflammatory mediators play a critical role in this response. Scientists and mental health professionals stress that, while these new theories are promising for expanding our understanding of depressive and mood disorders, all of the theories – both new and old – are interconnected and the integration of the theories will provide the most meaningful progress in the treatment of mental health.

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Category(s):Depression, Mood Swings / Bipolar

Source material from Brain Blogger

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