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New Antidepressant

A new medication, vilazodone, has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression. It is going to be marketed under the brand name "Viibryd." It acts as an SSRI (see blog dated June 27, 2010 for an explanation of SSRIs), plus modifies a serotonin receptor which may provide enhanced benefits. There is already [...]

By |May 21st, 2011|News|0 Comments

Chronic Unpredictable Stress and the Genetics of Depression

Another finding has just been published strengthening the association between genetics -- factors we inherit from our parents -- and depression. This study demonstrated a doubling of the activity of a particular gene in people with a history of depression compared to those without depression. There was also an increase in the activity of this [...]

By |May 14th, 2011|News|0 Comments

Caffeine, Depression, and Anxiety

Caffeine is a stimulant. This means it can make people feel more awake and alert. Other effects caused by activating the nervous system can include an increase in heart rate and feeling shaky. Caffeine works by blocking the docking station, or receptor, on nerve cells for the chemical Adenosine. Adenosine is a constituent of the [...]

By |April 12th, 2011|News|0 Comments

Personality Disorders

The term "Personality Disorder" (PD) is, unfortunately, steeped with pejorative connotations. In fact, it sounds more like an insult than a therapeutic label. Nonetheless, the concept of a PD in its clinical terms is helpful in recognizing enduring counterproductive ways people interpret and react to their environment. Personality disorders are typically manifest in how people [...]

By |November 21st, 2010|News|0 Comments

ADHD and Genetics

A recent study discovered a genetic variation associated with ADHD. The study found a greater likelihood of missing or duplicated segments of DNA (known as copy number variations) in children with ADHD. Therefore, rather than being perceived as being lazy or acting badly, this helps us understand that there are biological mechanisms contributing to ADHD [...]

By |October 17th, 2010|News|0 Comments

Depression Without Depressed Mood?

When we use the term "Depression" in the casual sense, we mean sad or down in the dumps. When used as a medical term, "Depression" refers to a whole group of symptoms that together form its actual "textbook" definition. This constellation of symptoms, which are spelled out in DSM -- the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual [...]

By |August 22nd, 2010|News|2 Comments

Addicted to Food

A recent study provided clues as to why people, even when overweight, crave and consume rich foods despite the negative consequences. The answer is that in this circumstance the brain needs increasingly greater amounts of rich foods just to be satisfied. It's a vicious cycle -- eating rich foods begets cravings for even more rich [...]

By |August 8th, 2010|News|0 Comments

DNA and Depression Treatment

Not only have genetic factors been associated with risk for depression, so too have they been associated with treatment response. In this case, reports have shown that variations in genes associated with the chemical messenger norepinephrine (see June 17, 2010 blog) and genes for a compound that regulates cortisol are associated with response to treatment. [...]

By |August 1st, 2010|News|0 Comments

DNA and Depression

Specific genetic variations have recently been shown to correlate with risk for depression. As mentioned before, serotonin is an important chemical messenger in the brain associated with mood (see June 27, 2010 blog). The length of the gene for the serotonin transporter appears to be associated with depression risk. This gene essentially comes in two [...]

By |July 29th, 2010|News|0 Comments

I Just Can’t Get Those Worries Out of My Head!

Recurring, intrusive, disproportionate worries are a common component of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). These worries are typically experienced as uncontrollable. In the brain, OCD represents the inability of circuits or pathways to shut off, leading to these repetitive and difficult to control thoughts and worries. The failure of the loop to shut off prevents the mind [...]

By |July 20th, 2010|News|0 Comments