Canadian researchers at the Robards Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario have discovered a link at the cellular level between anxiety and depression. Physiologically, researchers found that the two sets of receptors responsible for triggering symptoms in the brain actually do communicate; when one receptor system is activated, it also jumpstarts the second.
The findings were published in the journal Nature Neuroscience earlier this year.
With the discovery of the two receptor systems talking to each other comes the promise of new medications that target those brain signals specifically, reducing side effects. In fact, during this research, lead researcher Stephen Ferguson developed an inhibitor that did just that.
The study was conducted on mice and researchers are looking to expand into develop the inhibitor into a pharmaceutical agent for humans.
Not only is this good news for those suffering from depression and anxiety, it means extremely good news for 60 percent of sufferers for whom other medications have been ineffective.
Facts about Depression
“According to the World Health Organization, depression, anxiety and other related mood disorders now share the dubious distinction of being the most prevalent causes of chronic illness,” says Anthony Phillips, the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
Depression affects 20 people out of every 100 in Canada (20 percent), and 5.3 percent of Americans, or approximately 14.4 million people.
- 6.5 percent of women have a major depressive disorder in the U.S. (National Institute of Mental Health, NIH)
- 3.3 percent of men have a major depressive disorder in the U.S. (National Institute of Mental Health, NIH) (www.cureresearch.com)
Symptoms of depression include:
- feelings of sadness or unhappiness
- irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
- reduced sex drive
- insomnia or excessive sleeping
- changes in appetite
- agitation or restlessness
- slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration