Archive for the ‘DEPRESSION’ Category

Depression, the Secret We Share | Andrew Solomon | TED Talks

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Video presentation on a man’s experience & success over depression


Henry Sapiecha

Blood test provides first objective diagnosis of depression in adults Video describes.

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

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Diagnosing depression can be a difficult task, currently relying on patients reporting symptoms – something those suffering depression don’t always do – and doctors correctly interpreting them – which isn’t easy as the symptoms are non-specific. Now researchers have developed a blood test to diagnose depression in adults, providing the first objective, scientific diagnosis for the condition.

Earlier this year, a team from the University of Vienna revealed that measuring the levels of serotonin in the blood showed promise for potentially diagnosing depression through a blood test. And in 2012, Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine developed a blood test to diagnose depression in adolescents that involved looking at 26 genetic blood markers.

Building on that research, Redei and a team at Northwestern have developed a blood test to diagnose depression in adults. In the team’s study, they found that the levels of nine RNA blood markers in 32 patients, who were aged from 21 to 79 and had been independently diagnosed with depression after clinical interviews, were significantly different than levels in 32 non-depressed controls in the same age range.

After 18 weeks of therapy, both face-to-face and over the phone, changes in the levels of the markers allowed the researchers to differentiate between patients who had responded positively and were no longer depressed and those that remained depressed. The researchers say this is the first time a biological indicator has been used to indicate the success of cognitive behavioral therapy in adults suffering depression.

Additionally, examining the baseline levels of the nine markers in patients who subsequently recovered from depression after therapy allowed the researchers to identify a “fingerprint” from the blood test that would indicate which patients would benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. This fingerprint didn’t appear in depressed patients who didn’t improve with the therapy.

Furthermore, the researchers found that the concentration levels of three of the nine RNA markers remained different in depressed patients and non-depressed controls, even if the depressed patients achieved remission after therapy. They say this suggests these three markers could indicate a vulnerability to depression.

“These three markers move us towards the ultimate goal of identifying predisposition to depression, even in the absence of a current depressive episode,” said Redei.

“Being aware of people who are more susceptible to recurring depression allows us to monitor them more closely,” added co-lead author David Mohr, a professor of preventive medicine and director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at Feinberg. “They can consider a maintenance dose of antidepressants or continued psychotherapy to diminish the severity of a future episode or prolong the intervals between episodes.”

Redei now plans to test the results in a larger population and will also examine whether the test can be used to differentiate between major depression and bipolar depression.

In the video below, Redei gives an overview of the research, which is published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

Published on Sep 22, 2014

Depression is a serious mental disorder, but now diagnosing and curing it might be easier than ever! Julian joins DNews today to discuss how there’s now a blood test that might be able to detect if someone is depressed!

Source: Northwestern University

Henry Sapiecha

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Archives of Internal Medicine looked at two statins — simvastatin (Zocor) and pravastatin (Pravachol)

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Statins can cause fatigue in 4 of 10 women
Natures Brands Natural Health & Beauty Products

Think it’s exhausting trying to keep up with all the warnings on cholesterol drugs? You should see what happens when you actually take the darned things — because the latest study finds statins can sap you of your energy faster than a weekend with the in-laws.

This isn’t some minor “maybe” side effect and it’s certainly not a rare one. New numbers show that up to 40 percent of women who take statins battle fatigue — and 10 percent of them feel like they’ve been hit by a truck.
Natures Brands Natural Health & Beauty Products

In a new study of more than 1,000 people, that 10 percent described their post-statin energy levels as “much worse” than they were before they started taking the meds.

The study in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at two statins — simvastatin (Zocor) and pravastatin (Pravachol) — and a placebo, and found fatigue hitting women who took either drug. But overall, the researchers say the effect was stronger in women who took simvastatin and that it was much less noticeable in men.

But if you’re a guy, I’ve got an even better reason for you to lay off these drugs: Statins could shut down your internal testosterone factory and kill your erections.

If you ask me, that’s the worst kind of “fatigue” a man could have.

And for men and women alike, the drugs have also been linked to serious and debilitating muscle pain, memory loss, cataracts, and diabetes — and that’s the short list of risks. - Compare Health Insurance Policies

Forget these meds, and forget worrying about cholesterol in the first place — you’ve got enough on your mind as it is. As long as your total cholesterol is between 200 and 300, you’re doing just fine.

The real problems begin when your cholesterol is TOO LOW — and the best cure for that is the most delicious class of “drugs” on the planet: steak, bacon, sausage, and eggs.

All that protein will also boost your energy, leaving you feeling like you could lift a truck — not like you’ve been hit by one.
Natures Brands Natural Health & Beauty Products

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha



Wednesday, July 6th, 2011


The anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex (red) and frontal gyrus (orange) areas of the brain, which eTNS is said to activate (Image: NeuroSigma)

The World Health Organization has projected that by 2020, major depression will be the second-most significant cause for disability in the world, after heart disease. Along with psychotherapy, the disorder is usually treated using antidepressant drugs. There is often a frustrating trial-and-error period involved in finding the right drug for the right person, however, while side effects can include obesity, sexual dysfunction, and fatigue … to name a few. Los Angeles-based company NeuroSigma is now looking into an alternative drug-free therapy, that could ultimately incorporate electrodes implanted under the patient’s skin.

In an eight-week clinical trial conducted last June, researchers at UCLA externally stimulated the cranial trigeminal nerve of patients who suffered from depression. This was accomplished by attaching two electrodes to the skin of each subject’s forehead, which were in turn attached to a mobile phone-sized stimulating device. The external Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation (eTNS) process reportedly resulted in a 70 percent reduction in symptom severity during the trial, and a subsequent 80 percent remission rate, with none of the side effects associated with antidepressants.

The technology is licensed exclusively to NeuroSigma.

Last month, findings were presented on four more subjects from those trials, including functional neuroimaging PET data. It was determined that even brief exposure to eTNS increased blood flow to regions of the brain associated with depression and mood regulation. “These findings of a potential mechanism of action support our original hypothesis that electrical stimulation of the trigeminal nerves, located in facial skin tissue, can provide a very safe and effective means to send signals to key structures deep in the brain, thus providing a high-bandwidth pathway to the brain without current penetrating directly through the skull” said UCLA‘s Dr. Ian Cook.

A twenty-subject, double-blind second phase of the trials began this February, and should wrap up late this year.

NeuroSigma is meanwhile continuing development of eTNS, while also working on a version of the system that would utilize implantable subcutaneous electrodes. Known as sTNS, patients who responded well to eTNS could choose to switch over to it. The technology could also possibly be used to treat epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Let them eat fish & fat

Older folk who suffer from depression don’t need a drug, a hug, or a room in an senior’s home.

Just let them eat their fatty meats and fish by the bucketload!

A fresh study proves again what’s been said all along — the best way to get your groove back is to put fat back on the menu.

It’s true at any age, but the latest study looks at seniors: Iranian researchers recruited 66 who suffered from moderate to somewhat more severe depression, then gave them either a placebo or a 1-gram fish oil supplement containing 300 mg each of DHA and EPA.

That’s not a lot — you can and should get more — but the new study shows it’s a pretty good start, because the patients who got the supplement saw more relief from their depression as measured by a standardized 15-question survey than those given the placebo.

Side note: Anyone who can diagnose a serious mental disorder in 15 questions is full of it, and I don’t mean fish oil.

But that’s an argument for another day.

In any case, none of this surprises me — and if you’re a longtime reader, it won’t surprise you either. The only real surprise here is that researchers think this is still worth studying.

It’s not.

The verdict was in long ago — fish oil, cod liver oil, omega-3 fatty acids or whatever other name you want to sell it under is essential to the human brain at any age… and the shift away from these fats in the diet has been disastrous.

Don’t expect a mea culpa from the mainstream on this any time soon — they’re still pushing bunny chow despite the fact that it hasn’t made anyone thinner, happier or healthier.

Save your own noggin — enjoy your fats, and take a quality omega-3 supplement.


Monday, June 14th, 2010

Antidepressants, miscarriages linked

MONTREAL (UPI) — Canadian researchers say the risk of miscarriages is 68 percent higher in women who took antidepressants during pregnancy.

Researchers from the University of Montreal said they recommend doctors discuss with their patients the risks and benefits of antidepressant therapy during pregnancy.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, involved 5,124 women who were part of a large population-based group of pregnant women who had clinically verified miscarriages and a large sample of women from the same registry who did not have a miscarriage.

Of those who miscarried, 284, or 5.5 percent, had taken antidepressants during pregnancy.

Antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors — especially paroxetine and also venlafaxine — were associated with increased risk of miscarriage as were higher daily doses of either antidepressant. A combination of different antidepressants doubled the risk of miscarriages.

“These results, which suggest an overall class effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are highly robust given the large number of users studied,” Dr. Anick Berard, the study’s senior author, said in a statement.

However, stopping antidepressant medication can result in a depressive relapse that can put mother and baby at risk, Bernard added.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, June 7th, 2010

Depression & Vitamin D: The Emerging Link

Vitamin D has been linked to many health conditions before. A recent study links insufficient levels of the vitamin with the disabling condition depression

In a recent study performed by researchers from the National Institute of Aging in the United States, insufficient levels of vitamin D may be the reason why many individuals over the age of 65 are experiencing symptoms of depression.

Senior individuals often have low levels of the important vitamin because they tend to stay indoors more often, as opposed to younger, more sprightly individuals with more active lifestyles. The study was published in a medical journal on endocrinology this year.

According to Luigi Ferrucci, the lead researcher, the emerging link between vitamin D deficiency and the occurrence of depression must be further investigated.  The study involved a follow-up testing of nearly one thousand male and female respondents within a six-year period.

The researchers used a specialized scale that measured the symptoms of depression called CES-D.  The researchers discovered that those with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood tended to have poorer score in the CES-D test.  Those with higher vitamin D percentages in their blood scored better in the same test.

Alarming, global trend

Depression is fast becoming one of the leading causes of disability around the world, not just in the United States.  It is estimated that today, there are 120 million people afflicted with the condition.  Ferrucci’s study is not the first to point at the possible link between the vitamin and depression.

In an earlier study carried out two years ago, Dutch researchers reported that insufficient levels of the vitamin in the body resulted in a higher percentage of the parathyroid hormone.

This hormone, which is used by the body to regulate calcium loss, has been directly linked to a higher incidence of depression in some one thousand two hundred respondents in yet another independent study.  This is the reason why a causal pathway must be mapped out to determine just how this vitamin affects the human brain.

In a fourth related study, researchers McCann and Arnes noted that vitamin D is important for the proper functioning and health of the human brain.  The widespread presence of vitamin D receptors throughout the human brain is evidence of the vital role of the nutrient in brain health.

According to yet another scientific review, vitamin D has been associated with affecting proteins in the human brain that are responsible for governing the learning process and remembering.  If an imbalance occurs in these areas, you can just imagine a chain reaction occurring throughout the brain.

Benefits of vitamin D

There are several ways that you can get vitamin D: natural exposure to sunlight, food (like dairy products, e.g. yogurt, milk, etc.) and through vitamin supplementation.  The body only needs about 10 – 15 minutes of exposure to natural sunlight to produce vitamin D on its own.

If this is not possible, people with low levels of vitamin D should explore vitamin supplementation; this applies most especially to senior individuals who may not be eating well or are unable to engage in a more active lifestyle.  Instead of using sunscreen when going out to get your healthy dose of sunshine, you can protect your skin naturally by taking natural antioxidants like fresh wheatgrass juice and citrus fruits.

The usual recommended dose for adults is between 400 to 800 IU (international units) of vitamin D everyday. Pregnant women should be given a higher dose (800 IU) to ensure optimum bone health and proper development of the fetus.

And there are more reasons to love vitamin D! Here are some of the most important benefits:

1. It is needed for proper absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorous.  It is needed for the proper maintenance and repair of the bones and skin.

2. It strengthens and helps maintain the immune function of the body. Conditions like flu and the common cold can be warded off more efficiently if the immune system is strengthened by vitamin D.

3. It is an important nutrient that prevents the occurrence of MS (multiple sclerosis).  According to researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University, MS is less frequent in tropical countries because there is more available sunshine in these places than in temperate regions.

4. Vitamin D has also been linked to the maintenance of normal body weight (according to research from the Medical College of Georgia).

5. Vitamin D is important for brain health in the later years (60 – 79 years of age).

6. In a recent study from the Harvard Medical School, vitamin D can also reduce asthma attacks in asthmatic individuals.

7. We are exposed continually to low levels of radiation.  The good news is vitamin D can also help protect us from such exposures.

According to US cancer researchers, people with adequate levels of vitamin D have a lower risk for many types of cancer than people with low or inadequate levels of the vitamin.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 7th June 2010