Serotonin News and Research

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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.
Electro-acupuncture may be effective in treating sleep disturbances in women with breast cancer

Electro-acupuncture may be effective in treating sleep disturbances in women with breast cancer

Length of telomeres may reveal if vitamin D and omega-3 supplements improve heart health, longevity

Length of telomeres may reveal if vitamin D and omega-3 supplements improve heart health, longevity

Study provides new insights into how the social brain works differently in males and females

Study provides new insights into how the social brain works differently in males and females

MIT researchers develop imaging technique that provides unprecedented view of serotonin dynamics

MIT researchers develop imaging technique that provides unprecedented view of serotonin dynamics

Study links repeated SSRIs during pregnancy to childhood language disorders

Study links repeated SSRIs during pregnancy to childhood language disorders

UCLA-led study to evaluate treatment strategies for older adults with depression

UCLA-led study to evaluate treatment strategies for older adults with depression

Tendency to feel lonely linked partially to genetic traits

Tendency to feel lonely linked partially to genetic traits

High occupational levels may be risk factor for poor response to depression treatment

High occupational levels may be risk factor for poor response to depression treatment

Mice study explains why antidepressants don't work in some patients

Mice study explains why antidepressants don't work in some patients

Study provides insight into how weight-loss drug acts in the brain

Study provides insight into how weight-loss drug acts in the brain

Beta-blockers can help treat bone loss caused by antidepressants in mice

Beta-blockers can help treat bone loss caused by antidepressants in mice

SAGA funding initiative aims to advance understanding of potential sex differences in Alzheimer's

SAGA funding initiative aims to advance understanding of potential sex differences in Alzheimer's

SSRI treatment improves cognitive and social functioning in young children with fragile X

SSRI treatment improves cognitive and social functioning in young children with fragile X

UNC researchers map anxiety circuit in the brain that may explain side effects of antidepressants

UNC researchers map anxiety circuit in the brain that may explain side effects of antidepressants

New research discovers how opposite-sex hormonal therapy influences the brain

New research discovers how opposite-sex hormonal therapy influences the brain

Swimming can be effective option for treating patients with fibromyalgia pain

Swimming can be effective option for treating patients with fibromyalgia pain

Gene mutation linked to impulsive drunken behaviour shields bearers from obesity, insulin resistance

Gene mutation linked to impulsive drunken behaviour shields bearers from obesity, insulin resistance

Activation of specific neural circuit can inhibit binge-like eating behavior in mice

Activation of specific neural circuit can inhibit binge-like eating behavior in mice

Scientists develop interactive model to fast-track research and treatment of schizophrenia

Scientists develop interactive model to fast-track research and treatment of schizophrenia

Scientists use new non-invasive PET scanning method to monitor hippocampal neurogenesis

Scientists use new non-invasive PET scanning method to monitor hippocampal neurogenesis