Monday, May 6, 2013

Gene Helps Overcome Depression

There have been studies of animals and humans that may give thought that certain mental illnesses, such as depression, can be treated with a new aspect: gene therapy.  It is known that depression strikes at least one in 15 adults across the nation, yet there has been a study in mice and human brain cells which finds a lack of a protein named p11, which might play a role in depression.  Fixing that particular gene would produce those certain proteins which could affect depression. 
Psychological disorders anymore are being seen as brain disorders.  Most depression drugs used in these modern times, affect brain levels of a certain hormone called serotonin, which has been linked to the p11 protein in its effects on mood.  Mice have been bred to have depressive symptoms, then “by infecting their brain with a virus carrying a gene for the protein”, scientist are able to alleviate the depressive symptoms.
 Humans have been used in these studies that have Parkinson’s disease.  As the mice have been treated, they began to respond and behave like normal mice and in the experiments in human brain cells, those people who were depressed showed a lack of the protein.  These experiments though showed that there is a new way to treat depression, as well as the possible production of new drugs to curtail the disorder.
Certain doctors look to drugs rather than a direct treatment to the brain, especially through gene therapy; this is safer for treating depression.  Seemingly the design of drug molecules which would deliver the p11 protein or other compounds to a particular place in the brain would have to be done so without affecting other parts of the human body or brain, where the protein might serve otherwise different purposes.  “No single thing probably causes any human disease, yet the study author, goes on to say, but we can say there is evidence here of a role of this protein in depression.” 

Donald S.

No comments:

Post a Comment