depression

Depression is something of a black box. Its underlying causes aren't completely understood, nor why particular medications work for some people but not others. Even worse, treatments are not fully successful in up to 60% of patients. Learning more about the molecular details of mental illness will go a long way toward designing better drugs.

With these ends in mind, a team of Portuguese researchers examined the effects of two antipsychotic medications (which can also be used to treat major depression) on the behavior and physiology of rats. Their results are published in Translational Psychiatry.

Rats can be made to exhibit depressive-like symptoms through chronic mild stress. In this study, the rats were subjected to various types of unpleasantness, such as...

One in 10 people have a major depressive disorder (MDD) during their lives, which makes depression the most common mental illness. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Like many ailments, it is known that depression has both a genetic component and environmental factors.

The genetic component has been difficult to determine. Researchers from Erasmus University Medical Centre in The Netherlands published a new study, in the journal Biological Psychiatry, which may shed some light on this, They identified one gene implicated in MDD called NKPD1. 

How did they find this gene? The researchers took advantage of a genetically ...

Ask yourself how often you ever think about your ability to hear? How much you value it? How much you—and your loved ones—would be impacted if it were gone or profoundly diminished?

How much you would intervene early and often if you knew it would best protect this precious sense? 

Well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes our natural tendency not to appreciate things as much as we should until we don’t have them any more, so they recently studied the extent of adult hearing loss and modifiable ways to prevent it. The most significant finding was that much hearing damage and loss is occurring from loud sounds experienced in our daily lives, homes and community environments. (1) 

These noise-induced deficits are permanent and appear with...

Alternative medicine is like an "alternative fact." If it was real, then the word "alternative" wouldn't be necessary. 

Yet, occasionally, alternative medicine gets something right. Though uncommon, investigations sometimes demonstrate that an herbal remedy used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a legitimate biological or chemical basis. A fungus harvested from termite nests, for instance, has been traditionally used to treat depression and insomnia. Now, Taiwanese scientists think they have discovered a plausible scientific rationale for this practice.

The team cultured the fungus Xylaria nigripes (also called Wu Ling Shen) in the laboratory and then performed a chemical extraction to obtain biologically active compounds. (This...

It is a longstanding myth that suicides surge during the holiday season.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate reaches its lowest of the year in the month of December.  

The Spring and Fall apparently reflect peak times— a rather consistent finding in recent years.  Regardless of this nuance, suicide is a major public health threat impacting all ages, careers and socioeconomic strata prompting a rippling devastation of families and communities throughout the calendar year.  

Spurred by the Germanwings Flight 4U 925 crash last year, the journal ...

There is an ever-growing body of evidence that reinforces the health benefits of animals.  The cardiovascular and mental health ones are known and well-documented.  

A new study published in BMC Psychiatry sought to explore the role pets had in support, self-management and personal networks of those suffering from long-term significant mental illness (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia).  It concluded “pets should be considered a main rather than a marginal source of support in the management of long-term mental health problems, and this has implications for the planning and delivery of mental health services.”

The qualitative research involved interviews of 54 individuals...

Welcome to the conclusion of our three part series discussing the science behind director Kathleen Gyllenhaal's latest documentary, IN UTERO.

"To Avoid Adult Dysfunction Start 'IN UTERO'" took a deeper look at the health ramifications of toxic stress in prenatal life and its role in contributing to adult disease.

Part I of our Q&A with Gyllenhaal emphasized health, Hollywood, how a story gets told and the parallels between funding for film...

My pregnant mom - while caring for her ill father - got a call her grandfather died.  She started to shake uncontrollably as her water broke.  Shortly thereafter, out I came  - nearly a month before I was due.

The upsetting news induced a physiologic reaction.  Current science supports this conclusion as the paradigm is ever-shifting to recognize the strong link between environment in prenatal life and health outcomes that span the spectrum into adulthood.

The film IN UTERO, directed by Kathleen Gyllenhaal, aptly articulates my battle cry after over a decade of pediatric practice.  Though intended to speak to the perils of...

Who comes to the rescue of animal healers when they themselves need healing? According to a recent CDC survey, one in six practicing veterinarians has considered suicide. One veterinarian's insight on the challenges of veterinary. 

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We here at the Council have often taken to task celebrities who speak out against medicine and science — see Jenny McCarthy on vaccines, Jessica Alba on chemicals, and...