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Science News about Depression

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Adolescents with Depression Not Harmed in Studies Using Placebo
January 15, 2009 • Science Update
Teens with depression who initially are randomly assigned to placebo treatment (inactive pill) during a trial are no more likely to experience harm or have a diminished response to subsequent active treatments than teens who are initially randomized to active treatment.
Depression Relapse Less Likely Among Teens Who Receive CBT After Medication Therapy
December 5, 2008 • Science Update
Adolescents with major depression who received cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) after responding to an antidepressant were less likely to experience a relapse or recurrence of symptoms compared to teens who did not receive CBT.
Anxious and Depressed Teens and Adults: Same Version of Mood Gene, Different Brain Reactions
December 2, 2008 • Science Update
An NIMH study using brain imaging shows that some anxious and depressed adolescents react differently from adult patients when looking at frightening faces.
Emotion-Regulating Circuit Weakened in Borderline Personality Disorder
October 2, 2008 • Science Update
Differences in the working tissue of the brain, called grey matter, have been linked to impaired functioning of an emotion-regulating circuit in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). People with BPD had excess grey matter in a fear hub deep in the brain, which over-activated when they viewed scary faces. By contrast, the hub’s regulator near the front of the brain was deficient in grey matter and underactive, effectively taking the brakes off a runaway fear response, suggest researchers supported in part by NIMH.
Millisecond Brain Signals Predict Response to Fast-Acting Antidepressant
October 2, 2008 • Press Release
Images of the brain’s fastest signals reveal an electromagnetic marker that predicts a patient’s response to a fast-acting antidepressant, researchers have discovered.
Serotonin Neurons Critical for Mouse Postpartum Maternal Behavior, Pup Survival
August 29, 2008 • Science Update
Mood disorders, including postpartum depression, have long been treated with antidepressants that enhance the mood-regulating brain chemical messenger serotonin. Now, NIMH-supported researchers have demonstrated in mice – for the first time – that critical postpartum mothering behaviors and offspring survival also depend on proper functioning of serotonin-secreting neurons.
Depression Patients’ Brain Circuitry Makes Them Vulnerable to Relapse
August 1, 2008 • Science Update
Using brain imaging, NIMH researchers have produced direct evidence that people prone to depression -- even when they’re feeling well -- have abnormal mood-regulating brain circuitry. This makes them vulnerable to relapse when levels of certain key brain chemical messengers plummet.
Mechanism for Postpartum Depression Found in Mice
July 30, 2008 • Press Release
Researchers have pinpointed a mechanism in the brains of mice that could explain why some human mothers become depressed following childbirth. The discovery could lead to improved treatment for postpartum depression. Supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health, of the National Institutes of Health, the study used genetically engineered mice lacking a protein critical for adapting to the sex hormone fluctuations of pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Errant Stress/Immune Indicators Detected in Depression-Prone Women’s Sweat
July 29, 2008 • Science Update
An experimental skin patch test detected abnormal levels of markers for immune function and stress in the sweat of women with histories of depression, NIMH researchers say. If confirmed, the non-invasive technique could become an easier alternative to a blood test for predicting risk for inflammatory disorders, such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes, which often occur with depression.
Mice Expressing Human Genes Bred to Help Unravel Mental Disorders
June 26, 2008 • Science Update
New mouse strains engineered to express human genes related to mental disorders are being developed under a recently-launched grant program from NIMH's Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science.
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