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.
Older people treated with electroconvulsive therapy for depression may not get relief from insomnia

Older people treated with electroconvulsive therapy for depression may not get relief from insomnia

Dementia and low brain serotonin may be linked: Study finds

Dementia and low brain serotonin may be linked: Study finds

Brain scans reveal lower serotonin transporters in people with mild cognitive impairment

Brain scans reveal lower serotonin transporters in people with mild cognitive impairment

Study findings could lead to more effective and faster acting antidepressants

Study findings could lead to more effective and faster acting antidepressants

Research findings may provide path to new faster-acting antidepressants

Research findings may provide path to new faster-acting antidepressants

New study links unhealthy diet during pregnancy to mental health disorders in offspring

New study links unhealthy diet during pregnancy to mental health disorders in offspring

Study explores reasons for higher risk of depression in some women

Study explores reasons for higher risk of depression in some women

Study finds high levels of serotonin in blood of SIDS infants

Study finds high levels of serotonin in blood of SIDS infants

Researchers identify key protein that helps trigger ketamine's rapid antidepressant effects

Researchers identify key protein that helps trigger ketamine's rapid antidepressant effects

Single bout of exercise can have significant positive behavioral and cognitive effects

Single bout of exercise can have significant positive behavioral and cognitive effects

Antidepressant use during pregnancy not linked to newborn problems at 2-4 weeks after birth

Antidepressant use during pregnancy not linked to newborn problems at 2-4 weeks after birth

Age-related macular degeneration could be arrested by switching to low-glycemic diet, study finds

Age-related macular degeneration could be arrested by switching to low-glycemic diet, study finds

Researchers find many postmarket safety events after FDA approval of new drugs

Researchers find many postmarket safety events after FDA approval of new drugs

PTSD and psychoactive drugs linked to increased risk for dementia

PTSD and psychoactive drugs linked to increased risk for dementia

Study provides evidence for antidepressant effects of ketamine

Study provides evidence for antidepressant effects of ketamine

Experts aim to develop noninvasive technology that accelerates learning

Experts aim to develop noninvasive technology that accelerates learning

Personalized approach to pharmacotherapy may provide advances in treatment of panic disorders

Personalized approach to pharmacotherapy may provide advances in treatment of panic disorders

Novel mechanism of antidepressant action may benefit patients unresponsive to SSRI treatment

Novel mechanism of antidepressant action may benefit patients unresponsive to SSRI treatment

Antidepressant use during early pregnancy not linked to risk of autism, ADHD in kids, study shows

Antidepressant use during early pregnancy not linked to risk of autism, ADHD in kids, study shows

KU researcher reveals possible therapeutic intervention for 'chemobrain' in cancer patients

KU researcher reveals possible therapeutic intervention for 'chemobrain' in cancer patients