Friday April 27, 2018

New drug may treat depression in a day

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New York: Researchers have identified promising drug compounds that could successfully treat depression in less than 24 hours while minimizing side effects.

Although they have not yet been tested on people, the compounds could offer significant advantages over current antidepressant medications, the study said.

“Our results open up a whole new class of potential antidepressant medications,” said lead researcher Scott Thompson, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the US. depression

“These compounds can relieve the devastating symptoms of depression in less than one day and can do so in a way that limits some of the key disadvantages of current approaches,” Thompson said in the study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

These compounds, called GABA-NAMs, minimise unwanted side effects because they are precise: they work only in the parts of the brain that are essential for mood, the study said.

The compounds were tested in rats that were subjected to chronic mild stress and caused the animals to act in ways that resemble human depression.

Giving stressed rats GABA-NAMs successfully reversed experimental signs of a key symptom of depression, anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure.

Remarkably, the beneficial effects of the compounds appeared within 24 hours – much faster than the multiple weeks needed for most of the currently available antidepressants called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs to produce the same effects.

“These compounds produced the most dramatic effects in animal studies that we could have hoped for.”

“It will be exciting to find out whether they produce similar effects in depressed patients. If these compounds can quickly provide relief of the symptoms of human depression, such as suicidal thinking, it could revolutionise the way patients are treated,” Thompson said.

No effects of the compound were detected in unstressed animals, raising hopes that they will not produce side effects in human patients.

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Stronger people have sharper brains: Study

Previous research by the group has already found that aerobic exercise can improve brain health

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It is best to begin your gym workout with a dynamic warm-up routine. Pixabay

 If you thought hitting the gym only builds your physical strength, think again. A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that stronger people perform better in brain functioning tests.

Muscular strength, measured by handgrip, is an indication of how healthy our brains are, said the study published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.

“Our study confirms that people who are stronger do indeed tend to have better functioning brains,” said study co-author Joseph Firth from NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Australia.

Strong people have sharper brains. Wikimedia Commons

Using data from the 475,397 participants from all around Britain, the new study showed that on average, stronger people performed better in brain functioning tests that included reaction speed, logical problem solving, and multiple different tests of memory.

The study, which used UK Biobank data, showed the relationships were consistently strong in both people aged under 55 and those aged over 55. Previous studies had only shown this applies in elderly people.

The findings also showed that maximal handgrip was strongly correlated with both visual memory and reaction time in over one thousand people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Also Read: Riding a bike to work as good as gym workout: Study

“We can see there is a clear connection between muscular strength and brain health,” Firth, who is also an honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester in Britain, said. “But really, what we need now, are more studies to test if we can actually make our brains healthier by doing things which make our muscles stronger — such as weight training,” he added. Previous research by the group has already found that aerobic exercise can improve brain health. “These sorts of novel interventions, such as weight training, could be particularly beneficial for people with mental health conditions,” Firth said.

“Our research has shown that the connections between muscular strength and brain functioning also exist in people experiencing schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder — all of which can interfere with regular brain functioning,” he added. “This raises the strong possibility that weight training exercises could actually improve both the physical and mental functioning of people with these conditions,” he said. IANS

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