Mental and Emotional Problem News

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Depression may be caused by poor cellular energy production


A new study indicates that a deficiency in the production of energy within the body's cells may play an important role in the symptoms of depression, particularly the physical symptoms.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute recently published their findings in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. They report that individuals whose energy production is towards the lower end of normal may be at an increased risk of developing depression and especially a form of depression that includes a lot of physical symptoms.

The researchers hypothesized that decreased production of ATP in mitochondria might be at the root of depressive disorders with very high levels of somatization (physical symptoms).

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Serotonin differences between sexes may explain illness risk


Differences in the brain's serotonin system between men and women could explain why women are more likely to suffer from conditions such as depression, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome.

Scientists from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet say they have detected differences in the way serotonin is handled between the sexes. This has implications for diseases in which serotonin is thought to play a role.

Serotonin is one of a group of chemicals known as neurotransmitters which are used to transmit messages in the brain and nervous system. Serotonin is specifically involved in the regulation of mood and pain. Treatments for depression and anxiety such as the popular ' selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor' (SSRI) drugs, such as Prozac, are thought to work by increasing lvels of serotonin in the brains of sufferers. Likewise, drugs for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) target serotonin receptors in the gut (of which there are vast numbers) to control pain and bowel function.

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Chronic Pain Linked to Depression and Sleep Problems


Researchers find that chronic pain can disrupt brain function and lead to a host of mental health issues from depression and disturbed sleep to indecisiveness and confusion.

Professor Dante Chialvo and colleagues at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago conducted a study looking at the effects chronic pain has on the way the brain functions. The results are published in the Feb. 6 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The researchers used functional MRI scans to monitor brain activity in people with chronic low back pain while they followed a moving bar on a computer screen with their eyes. They then repeated the test with a control group of people with no pain.

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Rhodiola rosea an effective depression treatment


A new study has found that an extract of the herb Rhodiola rosea has an anti-depressant effect in people suffering from mild to moderate depression.

The research represents the first double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Rhodiola rosea in patients diagnosed with depression. The results, published in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, demonstrate that Rhodiola rosea extract was significantly more effective in relieving symptoms of depression that placebo.

The study was carried out by the Swedish Herbal Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden, using a proprietary Rhodiola rosea root extract called SHR-5, a standardized extract which can be found in their Arctic Root® product.

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Depression rates fall in Scotland but antidepressant prescriptions still rise


New figures show that despite a drop in the number of people seeking help for depression the number of prescriptions being written for anti-depressant drugs continues to increase.

According to reports in the Scottish media at the end of last week new figures show that the number of people seeing their doctor specifically about depression dropped significantly between 2002 and 2005.

The figures show that In 2002-2003, for every 1000 trips that women took to the doctor, 84 were due to depression. By 2005-2006 the number had dropped considerably to 65. During the same period the rate for men also dropped, from 37 to 30.

At the same time a report by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (QIS), a health board established to oversee improvements in the NHS, shows that the number of prescribed daily doses of anti-depressant drugs had shot up from 19 to 85 per 1000 between 1992 and 2006.

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