Interesting research results - antidepressants/brain

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by jadibeler, Aug 2, 2003.

  1. jadibeler

    jadibeler New Member

    I came acoss this article from Reuter's News Service on my computer tonight. Wonder if this is happening to all of us who are chronically depressed without our antidepressants?

    "Antidepressants may do more than improve the symptoms of depression. According to a new study, these drugs may actually protect the brain in individuals who have repeated bouts of major depression.

    Previously, investigators have reported that the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in learning and memory, is smaller in people who have experienced depression. This may be why patients with depression have trouble concentrating and paying attention, Dr. Yvette I. Sheline told Reuters Health.

    Sheline, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and her colleagues speculated that the length of time a person is treated with antidepressants may affect the loss of hippocampal volume.

    To investigate, the researchers interviewed 38 women with a history of depression. They used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the size of the hippocampus in the depressed women with those of women who had never been depressed.

    On average, the hippocampus was 10% smaller in the depressed subjects.

    However, when they looked at the effect of antidepressants, they found that the hippocampus had not shrunk as much in patients who had been on antidepressants for a longer period of time.

    Some of the subjects had never gone into full remission from their depression, Sheline told Reuters Health. But even among these subjects, she said, "there does seem to be a protective effect."

    Psychiatrists now recommend that patients who have multiple episodes of depression remain on antidepressants for the rest of their life, because they are less likely to relapse, Sheline noted. However, many patients don't want to take antidepressants or don't want to stay on them long enough. Her group's findings suggest that, not only do patients feel better when taking the drugs, their physical brain is actually better off.

    A lot of previous research in animals has shown that antidepressants do not harm the brain or the neurons, but that instead, there is a clear-cut benefit, Sheline noted. Her team's study now shows the same is true for humans.

    Her group now plans to invite the same women back for repeat MRI, in hopes of determining if the hippocampus shrinks more as time goes by, and if antidepressants "improve the situation."

    SOURCE: American Journal of Psychiatry, August 2003. "


  2. jeniwren

    jeniwren New Member

    Did you also see recently that there is research that suggests that the long term useage of SRI's can cause damage to the brain...frys it!

  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I find it very strange that the article did not state which antidepressants were used. Also, I wonder whether these subjects had clinical depression or situational. I also wonder whether any of the subjects had seizure disorders such as those of us with these illnesses are subject to.

    I believe there is too little info here to be of value in helping us to decide whether to take antidepressants. Unless a person needs SSRI's for clinical depression, I do not believe they sould be used in people with our illnesses until more is known. We have heard some real horror stories about SSRI's here. I think too many docs who are unqualified to prescribe these meds are handing out prescriptions for them as though they were harmless.

    In any case, thank you for sharing this with us.

    Love, Mikie
  4. elaine_p

    elaine_p New Member

    well, maybe not from the study, is whether the subjects were receiving therapy. I wonder why psychiatrists really want people to stay on antidepressants. Because it's easier for them?