This Week on NeuroScientistNews: 7 - 11 September
News Sep 11, 2015
New hope for treatment-resistant depression; insights into addiction research from stroke study; treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
Over the past several decades, the pharmaceutical industry has been abandoning the research and development of treatments for psychiatric disorders, despite the ever-growing need for novel, more efficacious, and better targeted therapeutics. Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder and ranked among the top causes of disability and disease burden in the world1. While common treatments for depression are effective for most patients, there is subset who fail to respond to at least two trials of antidepressant treatments (~10-30%). Additionally, recent estimates indicate up to ~30% of those do not respond to any treatment at all2,3. For these patients with treatment-resistant depression, novel therapeutics are a necessity. With the advent of newer technologies and findings, psychiatry is vehemently trying to discover new treatments and better understand their therapeutic actions.
New results published by researchers at the Autism Research Centre show both men and women with autism show an extreme of the typical male pattern on the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes' test.
A pair of studies suggests that a region of the brain, the insular cortex, may hold the key to treating addiction. Scientists have come to this conclusion after finding that smokers who suffered a stroke in the insular cortex were far more likely to quit smoking and experience fewer and less severe withdrawal symptoms than those with strokes in other parts of the brain.
An estimated 5.3 million people in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer's disease (AD) -- the most common form of dementia -- and roughly 473,000 people will develop the disease in 2015. There are currently five medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat AD. However, these drugs only help mask the symptoms and do not stop the disease from progressing or treat the underlying disease. In a new study presented at the 14th International Conference on Endothelin: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics that took place Sept 2-5 in Savannah, Georgia, USA, researchers used IRL-1620, a chemical that binds to endothelin B receptors, to treat AD in rats.
Low. Down. Less than normal. That's what the word depression means, and what people with depression often feel like. But sometimes, depression can mean too much of something -- as new research shows. The discovery, about a protein called fibroblast growth factor 9 or FGF9, goes against previous findings that depressed brains often have less of key components than non-depressed brains.
Researchers removing vitamin D from the diet of a group of healthy adult mice found a significant decline in their ability to remember and learn compared to a control group, results that may explain why vitamin D is vital for brain health, and how deficiency leads to disorders including depression and schizophrenia.
Researchers warn that--as the predictive power of genes tied to learning and educational outcomes increases and access to genetic data expands--researchers, educators, and policymakers must be cautious in how they use such data, interpret related findings, and, in the not-too-distant future, apply genetics-informed student interventions.READ MORE
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