Key to depression found

By Euphoric · Nov 7, 2006 · ·
  1. Euphoric
    Key to depression found
    T.O. scientists discover increased activity of an obscure protein could lead to more potent medicines T.O. scientists' discovery of an elevated protein in patients may lead to better drugs
    Nov. 7, 2006. 01:00 AM

    Toronto researchers say they've discovered the neurological key to depression in a new study that explains how the classic "chemical imbalances" likely occur.

    The discovery, made by scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), could lead to better, more potent medicines to combat the disorder, said lead author Dr. Jeffrey Meyer.

    "This is a very crisp, clean explanation," said Meyer, head of neurochemical imaging at CAMH. "This is an explanation that makes sense and that fits with the literature." The study will be published today in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

    Most researchers believe that depression, which will affect about 8 per cent of Canadians in their lifetime, occurs when neurotransmitters known as monoamines are out of whack in the brain.

    Monoamines such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine — which play an important role in governing emotions — are found in significantly lower levels in depressed people.

    But Meyer said scientists didn't understand why until his team refined CAMH's Positron Emission Tomography scanner to the point where it could find and examine the activity of an obscure protein called monoamine oxidase A — or MAO-A for short — produced in the brain.

    For two decades, researchers have known MAO-A breaks down serotonin and other monoamines.

    Meyer's team found that MAO-A was elevated by a whopping 34 per cent in people suffering from depression.

    "The monoamine theory is the central theory of depression," said Meyer, who notes that most depression drugs target things like serotonin and dopamine.

    "And (our) hypothesis was that MAO-A would be increased because, if there is more of this protein, then you would expect that would lead to a greater breakdown of these (other) chemicals," he said.

    While researchers in the past had thought about looking at the role of MAO-A, the technology wasn't available to more thoroughly study it.

    Meyer said some drugs that target MAO-A have long been used to combat depression. But they were discovered by luck and no one seemed to connect the protein with the actual neurochemical chain of depression.

    "It's sort of astounding when you consider how long this (monoamines) theory of depression has been around," Meyer said.

    Drugs that targeted MAO-A were originally prescribed for people with tuberculosis.

    "All the treatments for depression have really come about through serendipity," Meyer said. "In this case, people who got depression in sanatoriums would take an anti-tuberculosis medication, it happened to inhibit MAO-A, and people got (less depressed)."

    Meyer said his team's discovery should help pharmaceutical researchers maximize their ability to target MAO-A production and bring it under control during depressive incidents.

    Phil Upshall, national director of the Mood Disorder Society of Canada, welcomed the research, but cautioned: "The reality is there are a whole other array of other psychosocial factors that have to be in play to really alleviate the problems in depression," such as peer support, self-help groups and improved living environments.

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  1. Riconoen {UGC}
    Meh, just give them some MDMA or any of it's thousands of analogues and everyone will be fine.
  2. Abrad
  3. stoneinfocus
    It helped mine a lot, especially _not_ in the self-estitmed eomtional sense, but in the reacrtion to others, myself being much more "normal", relaxed and well accepted and emotionally understandablefor the others, than before, where all semed to end up in a "fuck-off" kind of state,´cause nothing seemed to get a grip in me, so I coulnd´t get a grip on others.;)

    So it´s not the high, nor was it dosings to get high, but it actually helped, and it wasn´t much, maybe three pills divided on ocasional settings over an 8 week period.
  4. Alfa
    Am I missing something here? MAO-A inhibitors have been used as anti depressants for a very long time. These guys are acting like it's something new. I guess the sales need to be upped.
  5. D.U.M.B
    SWIM thinks that this whole story above is just a lead in towards a new amazing so called miracle drug that will come on the market. In other ways it's more and likely in SWIM's opinion that they have found the key to make more money more so than the key to depression. We all SWIM and SWIY feel depressed from time to time thats life but even at the lowest of lows SWIM has never wanted to take anti-depressants even though he was prescribed them by his doctor. From expierences past when SWIM took these pills while depressed sure it might have blocked somethings out but it made SWIM feel less human and more of a puppet. Maybe that works for others but certainly not SWIM

    If it wasn't for companies that produce things like prozac, xanax etc. maybe marijuana would have more chances of becoming legal for personal use world wide but that's hardly going to happen when these companies can make millions instead of having the unhappy people grow their own little spirit booster. SWIM's not saying that MJ would work for everybody but it certainly helps him and others.

    SWIM could get depressed thinking about how drug laws might never changed, more so because some people will lose out on money and not because of morals etc. like the world wants us to believe.

    Sorry about the rant but SWIM obviously had some inner feelings he needed to release
  6. INodHardOhYeah
    You guys are missing the point here. Basically, attributing depression to "chemical imbalances within the brain" especially seretonin, norep, and dopamine has been the dominant theory based on knowledge of their individual specific actions. It was also speculated (as stated in the article, for the last 20 years) that increased levels of MAO-A could be responsible for the set of conditions that we have come to term depression. What this article is really about is that until now, they have been unable to utilise PET scans to monitor active levels of MAO-A, this is actually pretty incredible news, as current theories on depression are no longer conceptual models, but can be handled and treated quantitatively. Instead of only monitoring plasma concentrations of Rx depression meds, they will be able to see the actual marked difference in MAO-A protein levels and adjust accordingly. I'm going to try and look for more information on this, as from this article I can't determine if the innovation was only in tomographical analysis of data we could already collect (from radioactive tracer elements), or innovations in the utilisation of PET scanners, or both.
  7. INodHardOhYeah
    Okay I hate non-scientific articles, after re-reading this I'm thinking that all they are referring to is neuroimaging, via administered radioactive isotopes usually [11-C] . This is not new, it is probably new to them, and still there hasn't been very much data collected on specific drugs, attempting to directly target biochemical systems instead of relying on pharmacokinetic data when determining dosages, etc. Hopefully this is what they are getting at, as pharmacology is falling behind the times in this aspect.
  8. snapper
    The MAOIs are still the most effective clinical anti-depressants ever made, they just had too many side effects and were irreversible, leading to cheese and wine reactions. Moclebemide has been around for a while now and is occasionally used for depression and pharmahuasca. This study is more a confirmation than any new breakthrough. Maybe the psychiatric community is anticipating the problems SSRIs cause and are revisiting an old standby. Not a bad alternative in some cases.
    Anyone ever use harmine or harmaline as an antidepressant ?
  9. Beeker
    the cure is 5-htp and DL-phenelalamine ... give the body the precursers and all will be fine.
  10. Riconoen {UGC}
    yeah but theres the fact you have to go on a special diet, and can take almost no other medication even OTC drugs. SSRI's or SNRI's work for most people and an maoi is always the last resort.
  11. INodHardOhYeah
    No the last resort is Electro Convulsive Therapy, but I have seen it work really well for the few people I know (from psychiatric hospitals) that have had ECT treatments. Their only complaints were that the hangover after treatments could be pretty uncomfortable.
  12. Demonslayer
    This is a strange world. You can't use LSD in psychotherapy, but zapping electricity through someones brain is OK?
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