Mental and Emotional Problem News

Browse our library of news below or learn more about mood disorder symptoms, diagnosis and causes.

Natural depression treatments advocated by eminent scientist


A prominent UK scientist has co-authored a new book promoting diet, lifestyle changes and other natural alternatives to anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.

According to the authors for many people suffering from depression the answer may not lie in popping pills but rather making a concious effort to smile, eating a diet high in oily fish and avoiding dairy products, sending fewer emails, and spending less money.

These are just a few of the recommendations made in Beating Stress, Anxiety and Depression. Unlike many books of this ilk it has not been written by a self-styled wellness guru but rather one of the UK's top scientists and a qualified psychologist.

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Depression linked to leaky gut syndrome


A recent study finds that patients with major depressive disorder have a leaky gut and consequently inflammatory immune reactions to toxins from gut bacteria.

It is now established that an inflammatory reponse is involved in major depressive disorder (MDD). Previous research has shown that pro-inflammatory cytokines (immune chemicals) can induce depressive symptoms. It has also been discovered that lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a component of the outer membrane of certain bacteria, can do the same since it is a potent toxin which produces a strong immune response.

Researchers from M-Care4U Outpatient Clinics and the Clinical Research Center for Mental Health in Belgium wanted to build on these findings to determine if increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and the resulting increase in LPS in the bloodstream was associated with depression.

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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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