The Link Between Serotonin and Depression

A long standing belief is that serotonin is a key element in depression. Recent research may actually dispel the belief that serotonin is the key element in depression. 350 Million people suffer from depression so clearly understanding it is very important.

Researchers are now saying that the 60-70 percent of patients that feel no relief from taking medication for their depression treatment may not be getting any relief because serotonin is not the culprit! In the early 80’s Prozac was identified in many medical journals as the best treatment for depression.

Prozac has widely been the drug of choice for the treatment of depression but there is a huge sector of the population that do not get any relief from taking Prozac. This drug, like many other anti depressant, work by boosting the molecular signal of serotonin because historically it was believed that depression was a illness caused by a naturally low amount of serotonin.

There have been many drugs that have followed suit that work on the same receptors that are on the market to treat depression, however that 60-70 percent of the patients that are not getting any relief from the medication is troubling.

This astounding study was conducted by creating “knockout” mice that were developed to have no serotonin in their brains. While the mice displayed aggressive behavior they did not dispel depressed behaviors.

The knockout mice displayed the same behavior that normal mice displayed under stress. They also reacted the same way to anti depression medication.

What does it all Mean?

Depending on who you ask, some scientists agree that while it is a stretch to say that the mice are offering all the answers to serotonin and depression, they may very well hold the building blocks to greater research.

Clearly if medications that are meant to increase serotonin as a means to treat depression, and it is failing for up to 70% of patients, maybe the approach is a bit off. Further research is clearly needed.

Mice may not be the final answer but they may be the start of a clearer answer as to what causes depression or at the very least what does not cause depression.


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