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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.
Pre-clinical study demonstrates positive effects of advanced prebiotic on neuro-inflammation, anxiety

Pre-clinical study demonstrates positive effects of advanced prebiotic on neuro-inflammation, anxiety

Clasado Biosciences Limited, the producers and suppliers of the second generation prebiotic Bimuno(R) (B-GOS), a unique trans-galactooligosaccharide, and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, today announce the results of their latest pre-clinical study demonstrating a major role of the unique carbohydrate complex Bimuno against neuro-inflammation and anxiety. [More]
More research needed before recommending antidepressants, Alzheimer's disease drugs for stroke recovery: Study

More research needed before recommending antidepressants, Alzheimer's disease drugs for stroke recovery: Study

Evidence is mounting that drugs used to treat depression and Alzheimer's disease also can help patients recover from strokes. But there are conflicting findings from studies of these and other drugs given to recovering stroke patients. [More]
Lexicon's telotristat etiprate improves social and physical function, emotional well-being in cancer patients

Lexicon's telotristat etiprate improves social and physical function, emotional well-being in cancer patients

Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s telotristat etiprate, the first oral therapy in development for the treatment of carcinoid syndrome (CS), was associated with patient-reported improvements in social and physical function and emotional well-being according to new exit interview data from the Phase 3 TELESTAR study presented at the 2015 Neuroendocrine Tumor Society Annual Symposium in Austin, Texas. [More]
Sprout announces U.S. availability of Addyi for HSDD treatment in premenopausal women

Sprout announces U.S. availability of Addyi for HSDD treatment in premenopausal women

Sprout Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC, announced today that Addyi, a once-daily, non-hormonal pill for the treatment of acquired, generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in premenopausal women, is now available in the United States through certified physicians and pharmacies. [More]
Research shows sex change hormonal treatment also changes brain chemistry

Research shows sex change hormonal treatment also changes brain chemistry

Hormonal treatments administered as part of the procedures for sex reassignment have well-known and well-documented effects on the secondary sexual characteristics of the adult body, shifting a recipient's physical appearance to that of the opposite sex. [More]
Neurocrine Biosciences announces positive data from NBI-98854 Phase III trial in tardive dyskinesia

Neurocrine Biosciences announces positive data from NBI-98854 Phase III trial in tardive dyskinesia

Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. announced today that NBI-98854, a highly selective small molecule VMAT2 inhibitor, showed a statistically significant reduction in tardive dyskinesia during the six weeks of placebo-controlled treatment in the Kinect 3 clinical trial. This Phase III trial included moderate to severe tardive dyskinesia patients with underlying schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar or major depressive disorder. [More]
Endocrine Society issues Clinical Practice Guideline on treatment of menopausal symptoms

Endocrine Society issues Clinical Practice Guideline on treatment of menopausal symptoms

The Endocrine Society today issued a Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) on identifying women who are candidates for treatment of menopausal symptoms and selecting the best treatment options for each individual. [More]
First patients screened in Axovant's phase 3 study of RVT-101

First patients screened in Axovant's phase 3 study of RVT-101

Axovant Sciences Ltd., a leading clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of dementia, today announced the first patients screened in MINDSET, a confirmatory global phase 3 study of Axovant's lead product candidate, RVT-101. Axovant also announced that the company and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have agreed to a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) supporting this phase 3 program. [More]
Key neurotransmitter receptor may be a potential target for individualised Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment

Key neurotransmitter receptor may be a potential target for individualised Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have uncovered a significant—and potentially treatable—relationship between a chemical that helps transmit signals in the brain and genetic mutations present in a subset of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. [More]
Neuroscientists reveal the brain malady responsible for tinnitus, chronic pain

Neuroscientists reveal the brain malady responsible for tinnitus, chronic pain

Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center and Germany's Technische Universität München say they've uncovered the brain malady responsible for tinnitus and for chronic pain — the uncomfortable, sometimes agonizing sensations that persist long after an initial injury. [More]
NAMS panel provides recommendations to help women manage menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms

NAMS panel provides recommendations to help women manage menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms

Some three-quarters of North American women have menopausal hot flashes, but many cannot use hormones for medical reasons or choose not to. Numerous products and techniques are promoted for hot flashes, but do they work, and are they safe? To answer these questions, a North American Menopause Society panel of experts weighed the evidence and made recommendations in a position statement, "Nonhormonal management of menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms," published online today in the Society's journal, Menopause. [More]
People with specific genotype are more deeply affected by life experiences, reveals study

People with specific genotype are more deeply affected by life experiences, reveals study

People with a certain type of gene are more deeply affected by their life experiences, a new study has revealed. [More]
Research examines effects of antidepressant use on health of mother and child

Research examines effects of antidepressant use on health of mother and child

The use of antidepressants during pregnancy has no long term neurodevelopmental or behavioural effects on the child, however they may be associated with an increased risk of postpartum haemorrhage, suggests the findings from three studies published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG). [More]
Bionomics’ BNC210 Phase 1 trial for anxiety and depression meets primary endpoint

Bionomics’ BNC210 Phase 1 trial for anxiety and depression meets primary endpoint

Bionomics Limited, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics for the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) and cancer, today reported positive data from the completed Phase 1 multiple ascending dose, placebo controlled clinical trial of BNC210, an orally administered negative allosteric modulator of the alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (alpha-7 receptor) being developed for the treatment of anxiety and depression. [More]
Comprehensive review looks at safety, efficacy of treatment options for premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Comprehensive review looks at safety, efficacy of treatment options for premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome that causes major disruption in several areas of life for many women. Many treatment options have been proposed, but which are most effective? A comprehensive review of the evidence, including specific treatment guidelines, is presented in the September Journal of Psychiatric Practice, published by Wolters Kluwer. [More]
Common antidepressant can help stroke patients improve movement and coordination

Common antidepressant can help stroke patients improve movement and coordination

Working with mice, researchers at Johns Hopkins have added to evidence that a commonly prescribed antidepressant called fluoxetine helps stroke victims improve movement and coordination, and possibly why. [More]
Repetitive sacral root magnetic stimulation can reduce frequency of nighttime bedwetting

Repetitive sacral root magnetic stimulation can reduce frequency of nighttime bedwetting

Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, causes distress in children and young adults, as well as for their parents or caregivers. The causes are not fully understood and there may be both physiological and psychological components to the condition. In a new study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers report that repetitive sacral root magnetic stimulation (rSMS) can reduce the frequency of nighttime bedwetting and improve quality-of-life for sufferers. [More]
S1 Biopharma supports FDA's approval of flibanserin for women living with HSDD

S1 Biopharma supports FDA's approval of flibanserin for women living with HSDD

S1 Biopharma is a developer of first-in-class drugs for sexual dysfunction in both women and men. The company's lead compound, Lorexys, is currently in Phase IIb for the treatment of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). [More]
Johns Hopkins scientists develop novel fish embryo technique to identify potential new treatments for diabetes

Johns Hopkins scientists develop novel fish embryo technique to identify potential new treatments for diabetes

In experiments with 500,000 genetically engineered zebrafish embryos, Johns Hopkins scientists report they have developed a potentially better and more accurate way to screen for useful drugs, and they have used it to identify 24 drug candidates that increase the number of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. [More]
Music therapy reduces anxiety in women undergoing surgical breast biopsies

Music therapy reduces anxiety in women undergoing surgical breast biopsies

A first-of-its-kind study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology finds that music therapy lessened anxiety for women undergoing surgical breast biopsies for cancer diagnosis and treatment. [More]
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