[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 15-Nov-2010
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Contact: Kat Snodgrass
ksnodgrass@sfn.org
Society for Neuroscience

Animal studies suggest new paths to treating depression

Research into immunity, stress and key cellular molecules may lead to more effective therapies

SAN DIEGO ŚNew animal research has identified factors, such as the stress response and immune system, that may play important roles in depression. Scientists have also found that the regulation of nerve cell signals influences depression in animals, and that new drug combinations may more effectively treat it. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news on brain science and health.

Depression is a common mental disorder that affects more than 121 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Studies show the most effective treatment for moderate or severe depression is a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. However, 20 to 40 percent of people with depression are not helped by existing therapies, highlighting the need for new treatment targets and approaches.

Today's new findings show that:

Other recent findings discussed show that:

"Finding treatments for disorders of the nervous system is a social imperative," said press conference moderator Robert Greene, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, an expert in psychiatric disorders. "Basic neuroscience research has formed the basis for significant progress in discovering potentially powerful strategies for new, more effective therapies to combat depression."

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This research was supported by national funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private and philanthropic organizations.

View the full news release and materials here.



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