serotonin

A moody gut often accompanies depression: New study helps explain why

For people with depression, gastrointestinal distress is a common additional burden, and a new study suggests that for some, the two conditions arise from the same glitch in neuron chemistry — low serotonin. The study, conducted in mice, shows that a shortage of serotonin in the neurons of the gut can cause constipation, just as a serotonin shortage in the brain can lead to depression. The study also found that a treatment that raises serotonin…

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What are the health benefits of 5-HTP?

L-5 hydroxytryptophan is a natural chemical in the body that people can also take as a nutritional supplement. Some people believe that taking the supplement can improve certain aspects of health, including mental health and sleep quality. The compound is a natural precursor to a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps produce “feel-good” chemicals in the brain and body. However, there is little significant research to prove that L-5 hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can offer such benefits. Full story…

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New theory may explain cause of depression and improve treatments

A new area in depression research suggests dysfunction in mitochondria — the main source of energy for cells — could lead to major depression. Published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, this new insight to long-held theories on the causes of depression could lead to the development of novel and more effective antidepressant drugs. Depression is a highly prevalent disorder affecting up to 20% of the population. It is commonly thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance…

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Brain’s Alertness Circuitry Conserved Through Evolution

NIH-funded scientists revealed the types of neurons supporting alertness, using a molecular method called MultiMAP in transparent larval zebrafish. Multiple types of neurons communicate by secreting the same major chemical messengers: serotonin (red), dopamine and noradrenaline (yellow) and acetylcholine (cyan). Source: Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University Using a molecular method likely to become widely adopted by the field, researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health have discovered brain circuitry essential for alertness, or…

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Serotonin may worsen tinnitus

Millions of people suffer from the constant sensation of ringing or buzzing in the ears known as tinnitus, creating constant irritation for some and severe anxiety for others. Research by scientists at OHSU shows why a common antidepressant medication may worsen the condition. The study, to be published Aug. 22 in the journal Cell Reports, focused on the action of serotonin, an important neuromodulator in the brain. Researchers examined brain tissue in mice, specifically the dorsal…

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Depression: Evidence of serotonin signal transduction disturbances

Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric disorders. Over the last few years, molecular brain imaging using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) has helped us to identify important mechanisms involved in the development and treatment of these disorders, particularly those associated with the serotonin neurotransmitter system. The drugs that are used for these conditions (SSRIs) were developed 30 years ago. To celebrate this anniversary, a team from MedUni Vienna, led by Siegfried Kasper, Director…

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Early exposure to antidepressants affects adult anxiety, serotonin transmission

About 15 percent of women in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders and depression during their pregnancies, and many are prescribed antidepressants. However little is known about how early exposure to these medications might affect their offspring as they mature into adults. The answer to that question is vital, as 5 percent of all babies born in the U.S. — more than 200,000 a year — are exposed to antidepressants during gestation via transmission…

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Serotonin’s early role in assembly of brain circuits

A lot of research has shown that poor regulation of the serotonin system, caused by certain genetic variations, can increase the risk of developing psychiatric illnesses such as autism, depression, or anxiety disorders. Furthermore, genetic variations in the components of the serotonin system can interact with stress experienced during the fetal stages and/or early childhood, which can also increase the risk of developing psychiatric problems later on. In order to better understand serotonin’s influence in…

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