Friday January 24, 2020

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

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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.

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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)

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Here’s how Cyberbullying Leads to Depression Among Youngsters

Online bullying more horrifying, leads to depression in youths

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Online bullying depression
Cyberbullying amplifyies symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in young people. Pixabay

As researchers have found that cyberbullying amplifyies symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in young people, health experts here also stressed that in some cases it can be far more horrifying than physical bullying.

According to the experts, cyberbullying is when a child, teen or youngster becomes a target of actions by others — using computers, cellphones or other devices — that are intended to embarrass, humiliate, torment, threaten or harass.

It can start as early as age eight or nine, but the majority of cyberbullying cases take place in the teenage years, up to age 17.

The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, addressed both the prevalence and factors related to cyberbullying in adolescent inpatients.

Online bullying depression
From setting beauty standards and norms to trolling every act has a significant effect on the psyche of internet users, especially on youth and children, it leads to stress and depression. Pixabay

“Even against a backdrop of emotional challenges in the kids we studied, we noted cyberbullying had an adverse impact. It’s real and should be assessed,” said study co-author Philip D. Harvey, Professor at University of Miami in the US.

According to the researchers, children with a history of being abused were found to be more likely to be cyberbullied.

The study of 50 adolescent psychiatric inpatients aged 13 to 17 examined the prevalence of cyberbullying and related it to social media usage, current levels of symptoms and histories of adverse early life experience.

Conducted from September 2016 to April 2017, the research team asked participants to complete two childhood trauma questionnaires and a cyberbullying questionnaire.

Twenty per cent of participants reported that they had been cyberbullied within the last two months before their admission.

According to the researchers, half of the participants were bullied by text messages and half on Facebook.

Transmitted pictures or videos, Instagram, instant messages and chat rooms were other cyberbullying vehicles, the study said.

Online bullying depression
Children with a history of being abused suffer from depression. Pixabay

Those who were bullied had significantly higher severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anger, and fantasy dissociation than those who were not bullied.

According to findings, participants who reported being cyberbullied also reported significantly higher levels of lifetime emotional abuse on the study’s Childhood Trauma Questionnaire than those who were not bullied.

The internet not only covers the huge part of our lives nowadays, rather it actually dominates today’s generations’ lives, according to the expert.

“From setting beauty standards and norms to trolling every act has a significant effect on the psyche of internet users, especially on youth and children, it leads to stress and depression as well,” Mrinmay Kumar Das, Senior Consultant, Department of Behavioural Sciences, Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

Also Read- Full Vaccination of Children Reduces the Risk of Hospitalisation: Study

To reduce the risk of falling in this trap, Das suggested: “Keep an eye on the people you interact with online, keep your personal information or private details safe. Also keep in mind that your children who apparently act normal may also be dealing with cyber bullying.”

“Hence keep communicating with your children, rather than scolding them and forcefully limiting their internet use, support them to come out of this depressing phase, encourage them to indulge in other activities like games, music, etc,” Das added. (IANS)