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Depression Blog

Related terms: Major Depression, Unipolar Depression

One Dose of Antidepressant Changes Brain Connections, Study Says

Posted 4 days ago by

THURSDAY, Sept. 18, 2014 – Just a single dose of a common antidepressant can quickly alter the way brain cells communicate with one another, early research suggests. The findings, reported online Sept. 18 in Current Biology, are a step toward better understanding the brain's response to widely prescribed antidepressants. Experts said the hope is to eventually be able to predict which people with depression are likely to benefit from a drug – and which people would fare better with a different option. In a small study of healthy volunteers, researchers found that a single dose of the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro) seemed to temporarily reduce "connectivity" among clusters of brain cells in most regions of the brain. The exceptions were two brain areas – the cerebellum and thalamus – where the drug boosted connectivity. In simple terms, connectivity refers to how brain cells ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Paxil, Citalopram, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Escitalopram, Paroxetine, Luvox, Brintellix, Paxil CR, Fluvoxamine, Sarafem, Luvox CR, Brisdelle, Pexeva, Prozac Weekly

Blood Test Spots Adult Depression: Study

Posted 6 days ago by

TUESDAY, Sept. 16, 2014 – A new blood test is the first objective scientific way to diagnose major depression in adults, a new study claims. The test measures the levels of nine genetic indicators (known as "RNA markers") in the blood. The blood test could also determine who will respond to cognitive behavioral therapy, one of the most common and effective treatments for depression, and could show whether the therapy worked, Northwestern University researchers report. Depression affects nearly 7 percent of U.S. adults each year, but the delay between the start of symptoms and diagnosis can range from two months to 40 months, the study authors pointed out. "The longer this delay is, the harder it is on the patient, their family and environment," said lead researcher Eva Redei, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences and physiology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Diagnosis and Investigation

Sunny Skies Tied to Suicide Rates

Posted 10 days ago by

FRIDAY, Sept. 12, 2014 – Sunny days may be linked to suicide rates, but in a complicated way, new research suggests. In a study of more than 69,000 suicides spanning 40 years, Austrian researchers found two distinct correlations between sun-filled days and suicide rates. In the short term, sunny days were linked with an increase in suicide, but after two weeks of sunshine, the number of suicides dropped. The findings, reported online Sept. 10 in JAMA Psychiatry, point only to an association between sunny days and suicide risk. And it's "impossible" to directly attribute the changes in suicide rates to sunshine, according to the researchers. But in theory, there could be a role for the mood-regulating chemical serotonin, reported Dr. Benjamin Vyssoki and colleagues at the Medical University of Vienna. A number of studies have found a seasonal pattern to suicide rates in several ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression

Study Questions Link Between Antidepressants, Miscarriage

Posted 12 days ago by

TUESDAY, Sept. 9, 2014 – Some studies have found that women who use common antidepressants early in pregnancy face a raised risk of miscarriage, but new research suggests the link might be better explained by the depression, rather than the drugs that treat it. Looking at records for more than 1.2 million pregnant women, researchers found that those prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in their first trimester were 27 percent more likely to have a miscarriage than women who weren't on the drugs. But a similar increase was also found among women who'd stopped using an SSRI three months to a year before becoming pregnant. That suggests some other factor – possibly the depression itself – might explain the miscarriage link, the researchers suggested. "We believe that these results clearly indicate that miscarriage is not associated with SSRIs, but with conditions ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Paxil, Citalopram, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Escitalopram, Paroxetine, Luvox, Brintellix, Paxil CR, Fluvoxamine, Sarafem, Luvox CR, Brisdelle, Pexeva, Prozac Weekly

Sibling Bullies May Leave Lasting Effects

Posted 14 days ago by

MONDAY, Sept. 8, 2014 – While a burly kid on the playground may be the stereotype of a childhood bully, a new study suggests some of the most damaging bullies are as close to home as you can get: They're siblings who tease, make fun of and physically hurt their brothers and sisters. Youngsters who were bullied by siblings were more than twice as likely to report depression or self-harm at age 18 as those who weren't bullied by siblings. They were also nearly twice as likely to report anxiety as they entered adulthood, according to new research. Although the study only found an association and doesn't prove that these factors resulted directly from sibling bullying, "we believe it very likely that interventions to reduce sibling bullying would improve children's mental health in the longer term," said study lead author Lucy Bowes, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression

Study: Young Adults Who Had Depression Have 'Hyper-Connected' Brain Networks

Posted 27 Aug 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27, 2014 – Young adults who struggled with depression in adolescence appear to have "hyper-connected" networks in their brain, researchers are reporting. The findings might improve understanding of depression and could lead to new ways to predict, prevent and treat the illness, according to the University of Illinois at Chicago researchers. The researchers conducted brain scans on 30 volunteers, ages 18 to 23, who had depression in their teen years, and a control group of 23 young adults who never had depression. Many regions of the brains in those with a history of depression were hyper-connected, which means they "communicate" with each other a bit too much. This hyper-connectivity was related to rumination, in which a person constantly thinks about a problem without actively attempting to find a solution. "Rumination is not a very healthy way of processing emotion," ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression

Do Antidepressants in Pregnancy Raise Risks for Mental Woes in Kids?

Posted 27 Aug 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27, 2014 – There's been controversy for years over whether the use of common antidepressants by women during their pregnancies might raise the odds of mental health issues in their children. Now, a study involving more than 13,000 children finds no rise in the risk of autism in children whose mothers used an antidepressant while pregnant, but some data suggesting a heightened risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in these youngsters. The findings challenge prior research pointing to a link between exposure to antidepressants in the womb and a greater risk of autism. Instead, severe maternal depression may be the risk factor boosting a child's odds for autism – not any antidepressant a woman took during her pregnancy, the new study's authors said. "We know that untreated depression can pose serious health risks to both a mother and child, so it's ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Paxil, Citalopram, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Escitalopram, Paroxetine, Luvox, Brintellix, Paxil CR, Fluvoxamine, Sarafem, Luvox CR, Brisdelle, Pexeva

Worker Layoffs Tied to Rise in Teen Suicides, Study Finds

Posted 14 Aug 2014 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 14, 2014 – When large numbers of workers lose their jobs, suicide attempts increase among certain groups of teens, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed the results of a survey of more than 403,000 American teens conducted from 1997 to 2009, along with nationwide data about layoffs. While the study couldn't prove cause and effect, it found that when 1 percent of a state's workers lost their jobs, suicide attempts and other suicide-related behaviors jumped 2 percent to 3 percent among girls during the following year. The same finding held for black teens of either gender. Specifically, thoughts of suicide and suicide plans rose among teen girls, while thoughts of suicide, suicide plans and suicide attempts increased among black teens, according to researchers from Duke University in Durham, N.C. "Job loss can be an unanticipated shock to a community," study author Anna ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression

Study Hints at Link Between Poor Sleep, Suicide Risk

Posted 13 Aug 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13, 2014 – Sleeping difficulties may increase the risk of suicide in older adults even when other symptoms of depression aren't present, a new study suggests. The study focused on adults 65 and older, and poor sleep included difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up early in the morning, experiencing daytime sleepiness and not feeling fully rested after a night's sleep. "These findings suggest that sleep disturbances stand alone as a valid risk factor – independent of depressed mood – and worthy of focus as a potential [suicide] risk factor, screening and intervention tool," said lead researcher Rebecca Bernert, an instructor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. "Compared to many other known suicide risk factors, sleep disturbances are arguably less stigmatizing and may be undone, and are highly treatable." Among the 20 study participants who ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Sleep Disorders, Insomnia

Fitness May Help Ward Off Depression in Girls

Posted 8 Aug 2014 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 7, 2014 – The more fit middle-school girls are, the less likely they may be to develop symptoms of depression, according to a recent study. Although the effect of fitness on depression was small, improvements in fitness may be part of an overall strategy for reducing the risk of depression in middle-schoolers, according to Camilo Ruggero, lead researcher and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Texas. Other strategies might include school-based or family therapy, which can both treat and help prevent depression in at-risk kids. "Fitness is not a cure-all, but it's a small piece of a larger problem," said Ruggero. He noted that depression is also linked to a higher body mass index (BMI), a measurement used to assess if a person has a healthy weight for their height. In addition, middle school is a time when fitness levels drop off, weight ... Read more

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Coaching May Help Diabetics Battle Depression, Disease Better

Posted 6 Aug 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6, 2014 – Mental health coaching may help diabetes patients with depression and with lowering their blood sugar levels, a new study suggests. Many people with diabetes suffer depression, which can interfere with their ability to manage their diabetes through monitoring blood sugar levels, being active, eating healthy and taking their medications, the researchers noted. This study included diabetes patients in a rural, low-income area of central North Carolina. Nearly 16 percent of people in this area have diabetes, compared with 10 percent of people nationally. Thirty percent of these diabetes patients have depression and 65 percent are poor, the study authors wrote. Researchers referred 182 patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and depression to a diabetes educator and also to a mental health coach, who helped them find ways to deal with the stresses and ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Diabetes, Type 2, Diabetes, Type 1, Diabetes Mellitus

Preschoolers Can Suffer From Depression, Too

Posted 4 Aug 2014 by

MONDAY, Aug. 4, 2014 – Depression can strike at any age, even among preschoolers, researchers report. And if it does strike, the odds are that the disorder will recur throughout childhood, a new study shows. The study found that preschoolers who are depressed are two and a half times more likely to continue to experience symptoms in elementary and middle school, a research team from Washington University in St. Louis said. However, spotting depression in kids early on could make treatment more effective, they added. "It's the same old bad news about depression; it is a chronic and recurrent disorder," child psychiatrist Dr. Joan Luby, who directs the university's Early Emotional Development Program, said in a university news release. "But the good news is that if we can identify depression early, perhaps we have a window of opportunity to treat it more effectively," Luby said. That ... Read more

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Scientists Shed Light on Link Between Depression, Dementia

Posted 30 Jul 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2014 – Older people with depression are more likely to develop dementia, but researchers have been unable to explain the exact nature of the relationship between the two. Specifically, they haven't been able to figure out the direction in which the relationship works – does depression help bring on dementia, or does dementia cause people to become depressed? A new study published online July 30 in the journal Neurology sheds more light on the mystery. Depression is a risk factor for dementia, researchers report, and people with more symptoms of depression tend to suffer a more rapid decline in thinking and memory skills. While the study found an association between the two, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Depression accounted for about 4.4 percent of the difference in mental decline that could not be attributed to dementia-related damage found in ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Dementia

Could a Blood Test Predict Suicide Risk?

Posted 30 Jul 2014 by

WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2014 – Clues to whether a person is at risk for suicide could lie in a simple blood test, a new study suggests. Chemical changes to a gene involved in the brain's response to stress hormones may help spur suicidal thoughts and behaviors, the study's authors explained. Spotting those changes in a blood sample might help alert doctors to a patient's risk for suicide, they said. "Suicide is a major preventable public health problem, but we have been stymied in our prevention efforts because we have no consistent way to predict those who are at increased risk of killing themselves," study lead researcher Zachary Kaminsky, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "With a test like ours, we may be able to stem suicide rates by identifying those people and intervening ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Diagnosis and Investigation

Extra Exercise Could Help Depressed Smokers Quit: Study

Posted 29 Jul 2014 by

TUESDAY, July 29, 2014 – Quitting smoking is harder for people with depression, according to a new review. Depression can make it more difficult to ride out the anxiety, cravings or lack of sleep that come with trying to quit cold turkey, scientists found. But extra exercise – even just a walk – could help people quit faster, they said. "The review should be seen as a call to arms," the study's co-author, Gregory Moullec, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of exercise science at Concordia University in Montreal, said in a university news release. The study's first author, Paquito Bernard, of the University of Montpellier in France, added that he hopes the findings will alert researchers and clinicians to the "promising role of exercise in the treatment of both depression and smoking cessation." Nearly 20 percent of adults in North America are regular smokers, although this ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Smoking, Smoking Cessation

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