Wednesday November 13, 2019

Molecule Deficiency May Help Diagnose Severe Depression

LAC levels were also lower among those patients reporting a childhood history of abuse, neglect, poverty or exposure to violence

0
//
Depression
Depression is a common mental disorder. Flickr

Scientists have identified a substance in blood as a biomarker for depression, a finding that could open a novel way to a new class of antidepressants that could have no side-effects and faster-acting functions than those in current use.

Depression is a common mental disorder, with more than 300 million people of all ages suffering from the disorder globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The findings showed that people with a particular type of depression have decreased blood levels of the molecule acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC), also widely available as a nutritional supplement in drugstores.

Those with severe or treatment-resistant depression, or whose bouts of depression began earlier in life, have particularly low blood levels of the substance.

LAC is a crucial mediator of fat metabolism and energy production throughout the body, plays a special role in the brain, where it works at least in part by preventing the excessive firing of excitatory nerve cells in brain regions called the hippocampus and frontal cortex.

The results are “an exciting addition to our understanding of the mechanisms of depressive illness”, said Natalie Rasgon, Professor at the Stanford University.

Depression
Those with severe or treatment-resistant depression, or whose bouts of depression began earlier in life, have particularly low blood levels of the substance.

“In patients with depression, something is causing a problem in the mechanisms related to the biology of LAC,” said Carla Nasca, from the Rockefeller University in New York City.

“And, surprisingly, the deficiency in LAC is even stronger in patients that don’t respond to standard antidepressants,” Nasca added.

The study, published in the journal PNAS, involved 20 to 70-year-old men and women, diagnosed with depression and, amid episodes of acute depression, and had been admitted for treatment.

The patients’ LAC blood levels were found to be substantially lower in both men and women, regardless of age.

Also Read: Greening Vacant Lots can reduce Depression in Urban Areas

LAC levels were also lower among those patients reporting a childhood history of abuse, neglect, poverty or exposure to violence.

However, Rasgon cautioned against rushing to the store to pick up a bottle of acetyl-L-carnitine and self-medicating for depression. (IANS)

Next Story

Study Says, Youth with Abnormal Heart Rythms are More Likely to Have Mental Health Issues

The study is scheduled to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019 -- November 16-18 in Philadelphia, US

0
Heart Rythms
Researchers reviewed data on more than 7,300 children with abnormal Heart Rhthms and compared them to children with congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and children with none of these chronic conditions (controls). Pixabay

Children and teenagers with abnormal Heart Rythms (cardiac arrhythmias) are more likely to have depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as compared to those of similar ages without chronic medical conditions, researchers have warned.

“This may be the first study of this size looking at children and teenagers with various cardiac arrhythmias that have been diagnosed with or are taking medication for anxiety and depression,” said study’s lead author Keila N. Lopez from Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

Higher rates of depression, anxiety and ADHD have previously been described in young adults born with structural heart defects (congenital heart disease).

For the study, the researchers analysed the records of more than a quarter of a million children admitted to or seen in the emergency room of Texas Children’s Hospital between 2011 and 2016.

They reviewed data on more than 7,300 children with abnormal heart rhythms and compared them to children with congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and children with none of these chronic conditions (controls).

“We chose cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease because they are chronic diseases that are managed with medications and usually involve multiple hospitalisations,” Lopez said.

They found more than 20 per cent of kids with abnormal heart rhythms, congenital heart disease and cystic fibrosis had been diagnosed with or prescribed medication for depression and/or anxiety, compared with five per cent of children with sickle cell disease and three per cent of the control group.

Heart Rythms
Children and teenagers with abnormal Heart Rythms (cardiac arrhythmias) are more likely to have depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as compared to those of similar ages without chronic medical condition. Pixabay

Kids with abnormal heart rhythms were nine times more likely to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety and depression and almost five times more likely to be diagnosed or treated for ADHD, compared to kids without any of the identified chronic diseases in the study.

Kids with abnormal heart rhythms were one and a half times as likely to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety and depression than those with cystic fibrosis, and more than five times as likely to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety and depression than those with sickle cell disease, the study said.

ALSO READ: Ram Mandir To Be Built In Ayodhya By 2022

The study is scheduled to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019 — November 16-18 in Philadelphia, US. (IANS)