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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.
Wayne State inks exclusive license agreement with TRImaran Pharma for novel class of drugs

Wayne State inks exclusive license agreement with TRImaran Pharma for novel class of drugs

Wayne State University recently entered into an exclusive license agreement with TRImaran Pharma Inc. for a class of novel drugs developed at Wayne State University that aims to offer hope in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), depression, ADHD and other neurological disorders. [More]
Scientists explore how antidepressants affect fetuses during pregnancy

Scientists explore how antidepressants affect fetuses during pregnancy

Depression is a serious issue for expecting mothers. Left untreated, depression could have implications for a fetus's health. But treating the disease during pregnancy may carry health risks for the developing fetus, which makes an expecting mother's decision whether to take medication a very difficult one. [More]
Vanderbilt study offers a glimmer of hope to alcoholics suffering from depression

Vanderbilt study offers a glimmer of hope to alcoholics suffering from depression

A study by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is offering a glimmer of hope to alcoholics who find it hard to remain sober because their abstinence is hounded by stubborn, difficult-to-treat depression. [More]
Study provides better understanding of familial risk for depression

Study provides better understanding of familial risk for depression

Building on a 30-year, three-generation study of depressed individuals, their children and offspring, a study published in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging provides a better understanding of the familial risk for depression and the role neuroplasticity might have in increasing the risk of developing depression. [More]
Regular practice of Transcendental Meditation benefits active-duty service members

Regular practice of Transcendental Meditation benefits active-duty service members

Regular practice of Transcendental Meditation enables some active duty service members battling post-traumatic stress disorder to reduce or even eliminate their psychotropic medication and get better control of their often-debilitating symptoms, researchers report in the journal Military Medicine. [More]
Statins could be effective against metastatic small cell lung cancer

Statins could be effective against metastatic small cell lung cancer

In a recent study, researchers at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center (Western), in collaboration with international colleagues, found that statins could be an effective therapeutic against metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC). [More]
Using antidepressant drug during first trimester of pregnancy may increase risk of birth defects

Using antidepressant drug during first trimester of pregnancy may increase risk of birth defects

Using paroxetine--a medication prescribed to treat conditions including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder--during the first trimester of pregnancy may increase newborns' risk of congenital malformations and cardiac malformations. That's the conclusion of a recent analysis published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. [More]
New drug approved by FDA for treatment of von Willebrand disease

New drug approved by FDA for treatment of von Willebrand disease

"VONVENDI [von Willebrand factor (Recombinant)]", the new drug from Baxalta Incorporated, a global biopharmaceutical company recently spun off from Baxter International, has just been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. [More]
Enteric nerves of irritable bowel syndrome patients respond poorly to inflammatory substances

Enteric nerves of irritable bowel syndrome patients respond poorly to inflammatory substances

For the first time, biopsies of patients with irritable bowel syndrome have shown that the nerves in their gut wall respond poorly to a cocktail of inflammatory substances. This refutes the previous theory that patients with irritable bowel syndrome have an overly sensitive gut. [More]
UW-Madison scientist creates serotonin neurons from stem cells

UW-Madison scientist creates serotonin neurons from stem cells

Su-Chun Zhang, a pioneer in developing neurons from stem cells at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has created a specialized nerve cell that makes serotonin, a signaling chemical with a broad role in the brain. [More]
Using antidepressants during pregnancy greatly increases autism risk

Using antidepressants during pregnancy greatly increases autism risk

Using antidepressants during pregnancy greatly increases the risk of autism, Professor Anick Bérard of the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine children's hospital revealed today. Prof. Bérard, an internationally renowned expert in the fields of pharmaceutical safety during pregnancy, came to her conclusions after reviewing data covering 145,456 pregnancies. [More]
LSD reduces connectivity within human brain networks

LSD reduces connectivity within human brain networks

LSD is known to cause changes in consciousness, including "ego-dissolution", or a loss of the sense of self. Despite a detailed knowledge of the action of LSD at specific serotonin receptors, it has not been understood how this these pharmacological effects can translate into such a profound effect on consciousness. [More]
New drug therapies that target glutamate pathway may be effective for subgroups of patient with schizophrenia

New drug therapies that target glutamate pathway may be effective for subgroups of patient with schizophrenia

Mounting evidence indicates that disturbances in the brain's glutamate pathway contribute to symptoms of schizophrenia. Thus, the glutamate pathway has become the target of a number of new drug therapies. Findings published in the journal Biological Psychiatry suggest that at least one of these drugs may be an effective treatment for individuals in the early course of the illness. [More]
Novel antidepressant appears to be safe, effective against depression in clinical trial

Novel antidepressant appears to be safe, effective against depression in clinical trial

A small clinical trial of a novel antidepressant that stimulates neurogenesis - the production of new brain cells - shows that the compound appears to be safe and may be effective against depression. [More]
Lexicon announces top-line results from TELECAST Phase 3 study of telotristat etiprate

Lexicon announces top-line results from TELECAST Phase 3 study of telotristat etiprate

Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that top-line data from its TELECAST Phase 3 study showed results of telotristat etiprate in treating carcinoid syndrome in cancer patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumors consistent with the clinical benefit observed in its pivotal TELESTAR study. [More]
Certain platelet-derived growth factors can encourage regeneration of liver tissue following surgery

Certain platelet-derived growth factors can encourage regeneration of liver tissue following surgery

A team of researchers at the MedUni Vienna has discovered that certain platelet-derived growth factors are of major significance for the liver's regeneration processes. It has been shown that platelets can encourage the regrowth of liver tissue in patients who have had parts of their liver removed surgically. [More]
Researchers identify genetic mutation associated with reckless drunken behavior

Researchers identify genetic mutation associated with reckless drunken behavior

University of Helsinki researchers have identified a genetic mutation which renders carriers susceptible to particularly impulsive and reckless behaviour when drunk. More than one hundred thousand Finns carry this mutation. [More]
Athletes and non-athletes gather at TCS New York City Marathon

Athletes and non-athletes gather at TCS New York City Marathon

Well known for its culture, theater, and cuisine, New York is also one of the 25 healthiest cities in the United States. It's this fitness side that will be on show this weekend with the TCS New York City Marathon. [More]
Study finds no consistent evidence that antidepressants increase complications after plastic surgery

Study finds no consistent evidence that antidepressants increase complications after plastic surgery

For patients undergoing plastic surgery procedures, there's no consistent evidence that taking antidepressants increases the risk of bleeding, breast cancer, or other adverse outcomes, concludes a research review in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. [More]
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]
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