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Serotonin is one of several chemical messengers in the brain, or neurotransmitters, which help brain cells communicate with one another. Among many other functions, serotonin is involved in regulating mood. Problems with making or using the right amount of serotonin have been linked to many mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, autism, and schizophrenia.

There are many genes that code for serotonin. Some of these genes guide serotonin production and other are involved in its activity. The serotonin transporter gene makes a protein that directs serotonin from the space between brain cells — where most neurotransmitters are relayed from one cell to another — back into cells, where it can be reused. Since the most widely prescribed class of medications for treating major depression acts by blocking this transporter protein, the gene has been a prime suspect in mood and anxiety disorders.

The serotonin transporter gene has many versions. Since everyone inherits a copy of this gene from each parent, a person may have two copies of the same version or one copy each of two different versions. One version of the serotonin transporter gene makes less protein, resulting in decreased transport of serotonin back into cells. This version has also long been the focus of depression research due to its suggested effect on risk.
Researchers find link between genetic makeup and nation's happiness

Researchers find link between genetic makeup and nation's happiness

Genetics could be the key to explaining nation's levels of happiness, according to research from the University of Warwick. [More]
Citalopram can increase efficacy of BMSCs differentiating into neuronal-like cells

Citalopram can increase efficacy of BMSCs differentiating into neuronal-like cells

There is evidence that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants can promote neuronal cell proliferation and enhance neuroplasticity both in vitro and in vivo. [More]
Herbal supplement can become dangerous when taken with prescribed drugs

Herbal supplement can become dangerous when taken with prescribed drugs

St. John's wort, the leading complementary and alternative treatment for depression in the United States, can be dangerous when taken with many commonly prescribed drugs, according to a study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. [More]
Researchers identify two classes of anti-depressants that reduce symptoms of depression

Researchers identify two classes of anti-depressants that reduce symptoms of depression

Depression is common in cancer, up to half of all patients facing the disease experience depressive symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. When depression co-exists with cancer, patients may be at an increased risk of death from cancer and from suicide. [More]
Researchers perform systematic review to identify best treatments for cancer-related depression

Researchers perform systematic review to identify best treatments for cancer-related depression

Depression is common in cancer, up to half of all patients facing the disease experience depressive symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. When depression co-exists with cancer, patients may be at an increased risk of death from cancer and from suicide. [More]
Forest Laboratories reports positive results from three Phase III trials of vilazodone for GAD treatment

Forest Laboratories reports positive results from three Phase III trials of vilazodone for GAD treatment

Forest Laboratories, Inc. today announced positive topline results from three Phase III trials evaluating the efficacy, safety and tolerability of vilazodone in adult patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). [More]
Weizmann Institute scientists 'fingerprint' a culprit in depression and anxiety disorders

Weizmann Institute scientists 'fingerprint' a culprit in depression and anxiety disorders

According the World Health Organization, such mood disorders as depression affect some 10% of the world's population and are associated with a heavy burden of disease. That is why numerous scientists around the world have invested a great deal of effort in understanding these diseases. Yet the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie these problems are still only partly understood. [More]
Increase in protein helps store dopamine and protects from Parkinson's disease

Increase in protein helps store dopamine and protects from Parkinson's disease

Researchers from Emory's Rollins School of Public Health discovered that an increase in the protein that helps store dopamine, a critical brain chemical, led to enhanced dopamine neurotransmission and protection from a Parkinson's disease-related neurotoxin in mice. [More]
New path may lead to powerful adjunctive novel therapy for PTSD treatment

New path may lead to powerful adjunctive novel therapy for PTSD treatment

There are currently only two FDA-approved medications for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the United States. Both of these medications are serotonin uptake inhibitors. Despite the availability of these medications, many people diagnosed with PTSD remain symptomatic, highlighting the need for new medications for PTSD treatment. [More]
Alkermes initiates FORWARD-3 and FORWARD-4 efficacy studies in pivotal clinical program for ALKS 5461

Alkermes initiates FORWARD-3 and FORWARD-4 efficacy studies in pivotal clinical program for ALKS 5461

Alkermes plc today announced the initiation of FORWARD-3 and FORWARD-4, two of the three planned phase 3 core efficacy studies in the pivotal clinical program for ALKS 5461, a once-daily, oral investigational medicine with a novel mechanism of action for the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). [More]
Common antidepressant use during pregnancy may contribute to higher risk of ASD in children

Common antidepressant use during pregnancy may contribute to higher risk of ASD in children

A new study from researchers at Drexel University adds evidence that using common antidepressant medications during pregnancy may contribute to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children, although this risk is still very small. [More]
ALOXI injection receives FDA approval for prevention of nausea, vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy

ALOXI injection receives FDA approval for prevention of nausea, vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy

Eisai Inc. and Helsinn Group today announced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of ALOXI (palonosetron HCl) injection for the prevention of acute nausea and vomiting associated with initial and repeat courses of emetogenic cancer chemotherapy, including highly emetogenic cancer chemotherapy, in children aged 1 month to less than 17 years. [More]
Estrogen therapy and venlafaxine treatment effective for hot flashes, night sweats

Estrogen therapy and venlafaxine treatment effective for hot flashes, night sweats

A new research study from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) that compares low-dose oral estrogen and low-dose non-hormonal venlafaxine hydrochloride extended release (XR) to placebo were both found effective in reducing the number of hot flashes and night sweats reported by menopausal women. [More]
Study compares effectiveness of duloxetine and fluoxetine in children with MDD

Study compares effectiveness of duloxetine and fluoxetine in children with MDD

Two studies of the anti-depressive drug duloxetine, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), compared its effectiveness and safety to either fluoxetine or placebo in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD). [More]
Endo acquires worldwide rights to Zogenix' sumatriptan injection

Endo acquires worldwide rights to Zogenix' sumatriptan injection

Endo International plc announced today that affiliates of the company have completed the acquisition of worldwide rights to Sumavel® DosePro® (sumatriptan injection), a needle-free delivery system for subcutaneous use, from Zogenix, Inc, for $85 million in cash and rights to additional cash payments based on the achievement of certain commercial milestones. [More]
Anti-depressants could slow onset of Alzheimer's disease

Anti-depressants could slow onset of Alzheimer's disease

A University of Pennsylvania researcher has discovered that the common selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram arrested the growth of amyloid beta, a peptide in the brain that clusters in plaques that are thought to trigger the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). [More]
Antidepressant stops growth of plaques in mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Antidepressant stops growth of plaques in mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

A commonly prescribed antidepressant can reduce production of the main ingredient in Alzheimer's brain plaques, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Pennsylvania. [More]
Neurovance reports positive results from EB-1020 SR phase 2a pilot study in adult ADHD patients

Neurovance reports positive results from EB-1020 SR phase 2a pilot study in adult ADHD patients

Neurovance, Inc. today announced complete results from its phase 2a pilot study of EB-1020 SR, a non-stimulant, in adult male patients with all subtypes of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). [More]
Psilocybin in magic mushroom inhibits negative emotions in brain, shows study

Psilocybin in magic mushroom inhibits negative emotions in brain, shows study

Emotions like fear, anger, sadness, and joy enable people to adjust to their environment and react flexibly to stress and strain and are vital for cognitive processes, physiological reactions, and social behaviour. [More]
People suffering from vision loss are twice as likely to suffer from depression

People suffering from vision loss are twice as likely to suffer from depression

People suffering from vision loss are twice as likely to suffer from depression as the general population. And many psychiatric medications can cause vision problems over time. [More]