U.S. Study, Antidepressants Grow New Brain Cells

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by lailal, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. lailal

    lailal New Member

    Hello to all,
    Thought this might be of interest to those taking antidepressants. This appeared in Yahoo news this morning. Have a great day!

    Science - Reuters

    Antidepressants Grow New Brain Cells - U.S. Study
    Thu Aug 7, 3:47 PM ET Add Science - Reuters to My Yahoo!

    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Antidepressants may help stimulate the growth of new brain cells, U.S.-based scientists said on Thursday in releasing research that may lead to the development of better drugs to fight depression.

    Research on rats shows that two different classes of antidepressants can help brain cells regenerate -- and not in areas normally thought of as being involved in depression.

    "This is an important new insight into how antidepressants work," Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said in a statement.

    The study fits in with others that suggest depression can shrink the hippocampus, a brain region crucial to learning and memory but only recently found to be involved in depression. Major stress and trauma -- both depression triggers -- can also cause the shrinkage.

    "We have known that antidepressants influence the birth of neurons in the hippocampus. Now it appears that this effect may be important for the clinical response," Insel said.

    New antidepressants may be developed to target this process directly, said Rene Hen of Columbia University in New York, who led the study.

    "The proof in humans is going to come when we extend the work into finding drugs that stimulate neurogenesis. If these drugs have antidepressant effects in humans, this is going to be proof that the process is critical in humans," Hen said in a telephone interview.

    "There is a push already in the pharmaceutical industry to find such compounds."

    The new study may also help explain why it can take weeks for antidepressants to give patients relief.

    "If antidepressants work by stimulating the production of new neurons, there's a built-in delay," said Hen. The stem cells that give rise to new cells need time to divide, to differentiate into neurons, move to their new homes and link up with other neurons.

    To make sure that the new brain cells in the hippocampus was the source of the lifted depression, Hen and colleagues at Yale University and in France worked with genetically engineered mice, using X-rays to kill newly growing cells in the hippocampus.

    These mice did not respond as they normally would to antidepressants. Mice which were given fluoxetine, an antidepressant sold under the brand-name Prozac by Eli Lilly and Co., and were then given X-rays did not resume grooming as would be expected.

    Mice who received no X-rays and were killed after being dosed for 11 or 28 days with fluoxetine showed significant growth of new brain cells.

    A drug in a different class, the tricyclic imipramine, also stimulated the growth of neurons, Hen's team reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

    "Besides finding drugs that target this process, the other basic research challenge for me is to find out what the function of these new neurons is," Hen said.

    Experts say that 16 percent of Americans -- more than 30 million people -- will suffer major depression at some point in their lives.

    The NIMH says major depression is now the No. 1 leading cause of disability around the world.

  2. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I wonder what effect they have on those who do not suffer depression but take them.

    I also wonder how this fits in with Dr. Cheney's theory on those who suffer from the slight state of seizure.

    Thanks for the info.

    Love, Mikie
  3. lailal

    lailal New Member

    Hi Mikie,

    You bring up two very good questions of which I can only speculate what the answers would be. I will leave your questions up to the experts! :eek:)

    Personally, I find this report very encouraging for both those who suffer and don't suffer from depression.

    Might I also add, while of the subject of antidepressants, that after a severe CFS/Fibro flare, I have had amazing results with Effexor XR. I am still on the starter pack, but noticed a difference after just the second day and no side effects thus far. This comes from a person who has been a real guinea(sp?)pig when it's come to SSRIs. As we all know though, what works for one doesn't work for all.

    Have a great day, Mikie and thanks for your input.!
  4. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    Who paid for this study???
    This is the direct opposite of the info I've just read about Neurotransmitter research. It is also opposite the Cheney article that Mikie mentioned.
    It is also opposite my personal experience with what long term use of SSRI's did to my brain function.
    I know from personal experience that most studies about GERD drugs are BS, ditto for statin drugs, so I don't trust it on this either, unless it came from the NIH, or some other place where pharmaceutical lobbies can't reach.
    I would bet my next SSDI check that most of the funding for this came from one of the drug companies that manufacturs an SSRI.
    Just call me cynical,
  5. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I also find the report encouraging because I have a daughter who has been on a high dose of Prozac for years and cannot seem to get off of it. Since developing FMS, when she tries to go off, she is crippled with pain. She worries about the effect of long-term use of an SSRI. In her case, though, depression was present prior to the triggering of her FMS.

    I am also glad you are getting good results with the Effexor. I know that there are people here who do benefit from taking antidepressants. They just would not be my personal first medication of choice unless there is depression present. I did try Elavil before I was diagnosed following a painful car accident, but it did not work for me and added 20 pounds rapidly.

    Seems to me in a lot of cases, docs are more comfortable prescribing antidepressants than meds for pain and sleep.

    Again, thanks for sharing this as it's the first good news I have seen regarding the use of antidepressants in terms of effect on the brain and that really is good news.

    Love, Mikie
  6. Chelz

    Chelz New Member

    Hi Klutzo, When I read your post about this subject and antidepressants, I agreed with you 100%. The drug companies probably funded this research. I am very cynical about mood altering drugs, I think they cause chemical imbalances, not correct them. I feel these drugs just fried my brain. Ever since I took them years ago, my concentration is much worse. I feel there is a lot of psychiatric propaganda out there about these drugs and the problems with these drugs are just now starting to surface. The drug companies will always defend these drugs because after all, it's BIG money for them.

    It seems like you can't go to a doctor these days and mention any type of emotion or feeling, the doc is too quick to reach for the prescription pad and give people mood altering drugs. Life is not easy, and we can't just blunt our emotions and feelings with these drugs all the time because it doesn't really give us a chance to heal and grow. Just my two cents. Love ya, Hugs Chelz
  7. jaflo

    jaflo New Member

    if you look up biopsychiatry on the web you will find some interesting research on neurogenesis. I too believe some meds have the ability to stimulate stem cell divisision. Serotonin has the ability to do this according to some research done here. also lots of research on how meds work.
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I wonder who did pay for the study.

    Love, Mikie
  9. lailal

    lailal New Member

    Hi Packman,

    Thanks for your reply. I was so encouraged to hear about your positive experience with Effexor. My, but what a survivor you are and you sure are an inspiration after all you've been through.

    I am really optimistic that finally a doctor has me on the right track with this medication. I only wish I had been put on it sooner. It took coming to New Jersey for vacation from Hawaii to find a doctor who could help me! After each relapse I always believe that something good will come out of it....this time, although it has been terrible to have a relapse while on vacation, I did find a good internist and mental health practicioner who both believe in this disease and have gotten me thru a really rough time.

    Much continued good spirits and pain free moments to you!