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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.
People with specific gene variant at greater risk of developing depressions

People with specific gene variant at greater risk of developing depressions

People born with a particular gene variant have a greater risk of developing depressions, a recent study from the Department of Psychology at The University of Oslo shows. [More]
Research shows New Zealand blackcurrants are good for keeping us mentally young and agile

Research shows New Zealand blackcurrants are good for keeping us mentally young and agile

Research has shown that New Zealand blackcurrants are good for keeping us mentally young and agile, a finding that could have potential in managing the mental decline associated with aging populations, or helping people with brain disorders such as Parkinson's disease or depression. [More]
Certain anti-nausea medications used after operation could increase risk for irregular heartbeat

Certain anti-nausea medications used after operation could increase risk for irregular heartbeat

Certain commonly prescribed anti-nausea medications given to patients during or after an operation could increase their risk of developing an irregular heartbeat, new research has found. [More]
Recurrent major depression may increase osteoporosis risk in men

Recurrent major depression may increase osteoporosis risk in men

A recent study from the University of Eastern Finland in collaboration with Deakin University, Australia, shows that recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) in men is associated with lower bone density. The use of antidepressants was also associated with lower bone mineral density (BMD), but this association was dependent on the person's weight and site of bone measurement. [More]
New study gives insight into the mental health of teens, children with Down syndrome

New study gives insight into the mental health of teens, children with Down syndrome

A new study gives insight into the mental health of children and teens with Down syndrome and the behavioral medications that medical caregivers sometimes prescribe for them. [More]
Use of antidepressants in late pregnancy may be associated with increased risk of PPHN

Use of antidepressants in late pregnancy may be associated with increased risk of PPHN

An analysis of approximately 3.8 million pregnancies finds that use of antidepressants late in pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), according to a study in the June 2 issue of JAMA. However, the absolute risk was small and the risk increase appears more modest than suggested in previous studies. [More]
Researchers explore association between SSRI exposure in late pregnancy and risk of PPHN

Researchers explore association between SSRI exposure in late pregnancy and risk of PPHN

Use of antidepressants late in pregnancy has been controversial since the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory in 2006 warning that the use of antidepressants in late pregnancy may increase risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a condition that typically occurs in term or near-term infants and presents within hours of birth with severe respiratory failure requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation. [More]
Helsinn's Akynzeo for CINV prevention receives EC approval

Helsinn's Akynzeo for CINV prevention receives EC approval

Helsinn, the Swiss Group focused on building quality cancer care, announces today that on 27th May 2015, the European Commission (EC) approved Akynzeo® (netupitant-palonosetron) for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with highly emetogenic cisplatin-based cancer chemotherapy and moderately emetogenic cancer chemotherapy in the European Union. [More]

Study explores efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in reducing depressed mood

Many have recently questioned the efficacy of the most common antidepressant medications, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The conclusion that these drugs are ineffective is however partly based on a misinterpretation of the outcome of the clinical trials once conducted to demonstrate their efficacy. This was the finding of a study conducted by researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy. [More]
Serotonin and TGF-beta pathways link diet to health and ageing

Serotonin and TGF-beta pathways link diet to health and ageing

Diet exerts a major impact on health and ageing. The nervous system plays an important role in this process but, thus far, how food signals are interpreted by the nervous system has been a mystery. [More]
STA, Helsinn announce approval of AKYNZEO for prevention of chemotherapy-induced CINV

STA, Helsinn announce approval of AKYNZEO for prevention of chemotherapy-induced CINV

Australian biopharmaceutical company Specialised Therapeutics Australia and Helsinn, a Swiss group focused on building quality cancer care, announce that the Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved AKYNZEO for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with initial and repeat courses of moderately and highly emetogenic cancer chemotherapy. [More]
Specific brain chemical may play role in promoting chronic pain

Specific brain chemical may play role in promoting chronic pain

A chemical in the brain typically associated with cognition, movement and reward-motivation behavior -- among others -- may also play a role in promoting chronic pain, according to new research at The University of Texas at Dallas. [More]
Johns Hopkins researchers develop new strategies to treat depression in children, adolescents

Johns Hopkins researchers develop new strategies to treat depression in children, adolescents

A multidisciplinary team of Johns Hopkins researchers has developed two new strategies to treat depression in young people using the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of medications. These strategies, published May 5 in the journal Translational Psychiatry, incorporate a new understanding of how to mitigate the risk of suicide while on SSRI treatment. [More]
Researchers describe natural mechanism that helps repair lesions in teeth

Researchers describe natural mechanism that helps repair lesions in teeth

Researchers at Inserm and Paris Descartes University have just taken an important step in research on stem cells and dental repair. They have managed to isolate dental stem cell lines and to describe the natural mechanism by which they repair lesions in the teeth. This fundamental discovery will make it possible to initiate unprecedented therapeutic strategies to mobilise the resident dental stem cells and magnify their natural capacity for repair. [More]
Prenatal antidepressant exposure increases anxiety symptoms

Prenatal antidepressant exposure increases anxiety symptoms

Three-year-old siblings exposed to antidepressants in pregnancy show increased anxiety symptoms compared to their unexposed siblings. [More]
Bionomics begins BNC210 Phase II clinical trial for treatment of anxiety, depression

Bionomics begins BNC210 Phase II clinical trial for treatment of anxiety, depression

Bionomics Limited, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and diseases of the central nervous system, today announced the initiation of a Phase II clinical study of BNC210, the Company's drug candidate in development for the treatment of anxiety and depression. [More]
Eisai, Arena complete two Phase 1 registrational trials for once-daily formulation of lorcaserin

Eisai, Arena complete two Phase 1 registrational trials for once-daily formulation of lorcaserin

Eisai Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the completion of two Phase 1 registrational clinical trials that Eisai and Arena believe demonstrate bioequivalence of an investigational once-daily extended release formulation of lorcaserin, as compared to the twice-daily immediate release formulation approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and marketed as BELVIQ. [More]
Blueberries may be effective in treatment for PTSD

Blueberries may be effective in treatment for PTSD

Up to 8 percent of people in the U.S. suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as the result of witnessing or being the victim of a traumatic event. People with PTSD have been in a situation in which they were at risk of death, serious injury or sexual violence or have seen first-hand loved ones faces such threats. They may experience flashbacks, emotional detachment and jumpiness, among other symptoms that affect their ability to function in everyday life. [More]
Early response plus genetic variants strengthen antidepressant outcome prediction

Early response plus genetic variants strengthen antidepressant outcome prediction

Considering genetic variants in combination with early partial improvement could be useful for predicting antidepressant outcome, say researchers. [More]
Study investigates effects of antidepressant treatment in pain catastrophizing patients

Study investigates effects of antidepressant treatment in pain catastrophizing patients

A select population of patients having surgery experience what is called pain catastrophizing - an irrational thought process that leads a patient to perceive pain as worse than it actually is. Antidepressant medications reduce negative mood and might change this way of thinking, but according to a study published in the April edition of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, that may not be the case, at least for acute pain. [More]
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