Navigation Links
Scientists Spot Biochemical Sign of Depression
Date:3/11/2008

Could lead to quick blood test that would show whether an antidepressant is working

TUESDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've discovered a biomarker for depression that could lead to a quick lab test to determine whether a particular antidepressant is making headway against the disease.

"This may be a very simple biochemical indicator for depression," said study co-author Mark Rasenick, director of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The test "wouldn't tell you which [medication] to start, but it would tell you if the one you're taking is working."

It may even be possible to use the test to determine whether rounds of psychotherapy are reaping any benefit, he said.

For now, however, such a test is a hypothetical, pending further exploration of the finding reported in the March edition of The Journal of Neuroscience.

At issue is whether the brain itself shows physical or chemical signs of depression.

The researchers looked at the interaction of neurotransmitters and a protein called Gs alpha. In brain cells, the protein acts like a kind of butler, passing messages from neurotransmitters on the outside and amplifying their messages, Rasenick explained.

When the protein is working properly, it's like a butler whose "hands are just flying, cooking and cleaning at the same time," he said. But when the brain is depressed, "it just sits there in the corner."

In this post-mortem study, the researchers looked at the protein in the brains of 18 depressed people who committed suicide and compared them to the brains of non-depressed people. They found the protein would have worked less effectively in the brain cells of the suicide victims.

The findings raise the prospect of a blood test that would measure within days whether antidepressants are effectively treating depression, Rasenick said.

Now, it can take several weeks for patients and psychiatrists to figure out if an antidepressant is working properly. According to Rasenick, only about 30 percent of depression patients will respond to a specific drug.

"Unfortunately, we have a very poor ability to predict which antidepressant might be more effective for any individual," said Dr. Gregory Simon, a psychiatrist and mental health researcher with Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. "There's a long history of research using patterns of symptoms or biological measures -- chemicals measured in blood or spinal fluid -- to predict response to a particular antidepressant. None of those hoped-for predictors have significant value."

Genetic tests may provide some clues, he said, and the new study suggests there might be another approach. "It would not eliminate trial-and-error, but it would reduce the waiting time with each trial. But it's a long way from a study like this one to a test that's useful to patients and doctors."

Rasenick is hopeful, however, and he said the proposed test could do more than gauge whether drugs are working. It could conceivably measure the effectiveness of talking to a therapist, study co-author Rasenick said, since psychiatrists think psychotherapy has a physical effect on the brain.

Rasenick said more research and money are needed. The study was funded by the U.S. Public Health Service and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

"The next step is to partner with people who are doing large-scale studies on individuals with depression and begin to look at this," he said. "We can begin to get hundreds of people and see if we can confirm that we're right."

More information

Learn more about depression from the National Institute of Mental Health.



SOURCES: Mark Rasenick, Ph.D., distinguished university professor, physiology and biophysics and psychiatry, and director, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois at Chicago; Gregory Simon, M.D., M.P.H., psychiatrist and mental health researcher, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle; March 2008, The Journal of Neuroscience


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists determine structure of brain receptor implicated in epilepsy and PMT
2. Scientists Engineer Protein That Could Battle Strep
3. U of I scientists aim to overcome allergic reactions to soy
4. Congressional R&D Caucus co-chairs join scientists, engineers and graduate students
5. Scientists find mercury threatens next generation of loons
6. Penn scientists find a protein that inhibits Ebola from reaching out to infect neighboring cells
7. Scientists discover who is likely to get dry eye syndrome after LASIK surgery
8. Scientists uncover further steps leading to celiac disease
9. Scientists Find Cancer Culprits in Cigarette Smoke
10. Blocking protein kills prostate cancer cells, inhibits tumor growth, Jefferson scientists find
11. Scripps research scientists devise approach that stops HIV at earliest stage of infection
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists Spot Biochemical Sign of Depression
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Southern ... and Jennifer Huggins, PharmD ’17, along with clinical associate professor Janice Frueh, ... cardiovascular diseases during the 15th Annual Women’s Health Conference. The SIU School ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... most influential people in business to advocate for action towards gender equality at their ... 18,000 views from around the globe, and reached a social audience of over 3 ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the ... save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission ... of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a class of ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The company has ... today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to Adults 50+, every formula ... the highest standard. , These products are also: Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Dr. Parsa ... contributed a medical article to the newly revamped Cosmetic Town journal ... the hair transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... OBP Medical , a leading ... today announced regulatory approval from Brazil,s ... Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA)) to market ... with integrated LED light source and smoke evacuation ... of a tissue pocket or cavity during surgical ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... The Rebound mobile app is poised to become a vital ... prescription drug addiction. The app empowers users to develop an ... their dosage in a safe, controlled manner while maximizing well-being. ... 100,000 people to sign up will enjoy 3 months of ... ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017   Montrium ... Master File solutions, today—from the IQPC Trial Master ... , NL)—announced that EastHORN Clinical Services has ... clinical programs and TMF management. EastHORN, a leading ... eTMF platform to increase transparency to enable greater ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: