Have Scientists Finally Discovered the Root of Depression?

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Scientists at Heptares Therapeutics claim to have discovered the cause of depression. Using one of the world’s most powerful X-ray machines, they identified that protein receptor, CRF-1 is responsible for releasing hormones associated with anxiety and depression. A particle accelerator called the Diamond Light Source was used to analyse the CRF protein which was illuminated by the X-rays, doctors identified a crevice in the structure of the molecule into which future novel drugs can be embedded.

While the study sounds promising, it is important to realise that curing depression is not as simple as ‘flicking a switch in the brain.’ The causes and effects of depression are many. Symptoms can include lethargy, sadness and insomnia. The causes can include, but are not limited to repressed memories, post traumatic stress disorder as well as genetic predisposition. The truth is that the prevailing medical theory is that depression is a biomedical condition over which it is incredibly difficult to gain mastery over. Sufferers claim to be on top of the world one minute and to experience crushing lows the next. Likewise, some chemical treatments such as SSRIs work wonders on some patients and have little or even undesired effects on others.

The flip side of this is that neuroscience is widely regarded to be an area of science. Therefore it is important to respect the possibilities of what something new such as the research described above can bring to the table – with the same level of skepticism that all research should be greeted with. It is largely acknowledged that the best way to treat depression is through non-invasive treatments such as talking therapy coupled with psychopharmaceuticals and this course of action shouldn’t be abandoned – even in the face of a so called wonder drug.

More info: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-discover-the-molecule-responsible-for-causing-feelings-of-depression-8724471.html

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About the author: Conor Hughes works as a Marketing Executive at Life Science Recruitment

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