Skip to comments.Tiny molecule may help battle depression, study claims
Posted on 06/09/2014 11:03:24 AM PDT by rickmichaels
Levels of a small molecule found in humans and other primates are lower in the brains of depressed individuals, according to researchers at McGill University.
In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, Dr. Gustavo Turecki, a professor at Montreal's McGill University, and his team discovered that the levels of a tiny molecule may provide a marker for depression and help detect individuals who are likely to respond to antidepressant treatment.
"Using samples from the Douglas Bell-Canada Brain Bank, we examined brain tissues from individuals who were depressed and compared them with brain tissues from psychiatrically healthy individuals,"says Turecki, who is also director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies.
The team says it conducted several experiments that showed that antidepressants change the levels of the molecule.
"In our clinical trials with depressed individuals treated with citalopram, a commonly prescribed antidepressant, we found lower levels in depressed individuals compared to the non-depressed individuals before treatment," Turecki said. "Clearly, microRNA miR-1202 increased as the treatment worked and individuals no longer felt depressed."
Turecki says the discovery may provide "a potential target for the development of new and more effective antidepressant treatments."
Idiots. Injecting a molecule into someone to mask the appearance of depression leaves the root cause of the depression untouched.
This is because they think we are nothing but a bunch of chemicals and electrical impulses.
This is actually very impressive. A biochemical corollary to increased affect that is not part of the SSRI metabolic sequence.
They are not “injecting a molecule into someone.” They were assaying the brain tissues of dead people who had been depressed and comparing them with the tissues of dead people who were not depressed.
They also did clinical trials, giving antidepressant medication to depressed patients and comparing the levels before and after treatment. When the patients had an improved mood and functioning, the researchers did correlate this with an elevated level of this molecule, which had probably been raised by the introduction of the medication.
“They” do not necessarily think “we are nothing but a bunch of chemicals and electrical impulses,” as you say, but they do acknowledge that some psychiatric problems may be the result of biochemical malfunctioning. You will grant that the biochemistry of your stomach or liver or kidneys can malfunction, causing disease, so why is it hard to believe that the most sensitive and complex organ in your body, the brain, can have its biochemistry go awry?
Aren't all molecules tiny?
Your writing is like a cool refreshing stream in the woods.
“Tiny molecule”? As opposed to large molecules?
I can just see some liberal politician requiring a test to see if a potential gun purchaser has this molecule.
Your point is reasonable but misses the underlying point being made by “I Want the USA back,” namely that a treatment can be effective but that doesn’t mean the treatment actually addressed the underlying issue (e.g., some bandages help “treat” wounds but knowing this tells you nothing about what initially caused the wound). In this case, being deficient in a molecule and then replacing, via external intervention, that molecule tells you nothing about what caused the initial deficiency in the molecule.
Clinical depression is different from being sad about things. The underlying cause of clinical depression can be an imbalance in your blood chemistry.
for instance I went to a Psych doctor and was told I had real good reason to be depressed “your life really does suck lemons” he said.
I thought beer was made from big molecules. Learn something new every day.
There is a sense in which that phrase could be taken pejoratively.
Heh. That was my immediate thought when I read this: // may provide a marker for depression and help detect individuals who are likely to **respond to antidepressant treatment** // (replace with lib sentiment of choice
There are a lot of different factors that have the potential to cause psychiatric disorders: life circumstances and tragedy, diet, lack of sunshine and Vitamin D, genetic predispositions, trauma, spiritual problems—the list goes on. As a Catholic Christian I certainly see evil forces as contributors. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use every weapon in the gun cabinet to fight it, and along with spiritual weapons we should use medical research as well. For even if there is a situational contributing factor, sometimes we can’t even reach emotionally ill people verbally to help them with their problems. Sometimes medications can lift them up to the point that they can accept help. Drugs do have their uses.
I didn’t take it that way and I doubt he meant it that way.
You have a good mind in more ways than one.
Depression is diagnosed by behavior, so by definition, it is not a disorder of altered blood/brain chemistry (we diagnose problem of chemistry by measuring chemistry and diagnose problems of behavior by measuring behavior). Further, there is no scientific evidence that “imbalance in blood chemistry” can be the underlying cause of depression.” Nearly all of the studies on depression take observations of overt behavior (both publicly observable nonverbal behavior and verbal self-reports of feelings, thoughts, etc.) and infer an underlying chemical/neuro-chemical state. The studies that actually measure blood and brain chemistry are done with people who have already been identified as having clinical depression. See the problem here?
There is little doubt that people with clinical depression have altered blood/brain chemistry but to date, no one has shown that those cause depression; rather, people have shown that changes in the environment produce clinical depression and the co-occurring changes in chemistry (which is likely why behavioral interventions are, time and again, found to be the most effective interventions).
I wasn’t saying that drugs weren’t an effective intervention but rather than an effective intervention doesn’t mean you have identified the root cause of the disorder (e.g., autism - the most effective interventions are those based on behavior analysis but we still have no clear idea on the cause/s of autism).
As for faith, I too am Catholic. Our church teaches behavior resulting from psychiatric disorders can be something different than corruption by sin. That is, if the psychiatric illness precludes the person from understanding the sinfulness of the act and fully consenting to the act, then culpability is greatly diminished (there is a decent discussion here - https://www.osv.com/TheChurch/HumanDignityandSexuality/Article/TabId/658/ArtMID/13696/ArticleID/8366/Responsibility-for-sin.aspx).
Now, I may have misunderstood what you were saying. So if you were simply saying that we should include prayer and spiritual exercises in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, as long as they don’t preclude or interfere with other effective procedures (God has given us the intellect and skills to identify ways, beyond prayer, to help our fellow man and I would argue that they are therefore, in some ways, spiritual gifts from God), I agree wholeheartedly.
You gentlemen are both very kind. Thank you.
Everything is relative. Some molecules are especially tiny, consisting of only a few atoms; others by comparison are large and complicated.
I have no idea of your background with these kinds of disorders, and I can only speak from my direct experience with my mother’s issues.
Behavior in conjunction with blood work was always utilized in her diagnosis. It was never a one test or the other, and I suspect her treatment/diagnosis was not terribly different from others.
But I am not an MD, are you?
Not (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night). More seriously, again, measurement of something in no way implies it is the cause of the disorder. Major depressive disorder is diagnosed solely based on observation and self-report (see the DSM V and ICD 11). Most doctors will also screen for other disorders that could have similar effects (e.g., hormone imbalances). If the person has some other physical disorder then the doctor will likely treat that disorder. If the “signs and symptoms” then go away, by definition, the person did not have major depressive disorder.
All that said, a doctor can do whatever tests he or she wants but that doesn’t mean those tests are actually identifying a disorder.
Certainly; but with the repeated use of the word "tiny" I expected some discussion of its actual size. The molecule in question may be smaller than others with similar effect, but it's more than a few atoms:
Many popular-press science writers today don’t do the most exemplary job.