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The Science of Depression

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The Science of Depression

 

with over 350 million people affected by
depression worldwide

it’s no doubt an incredibly real and
serious issue but what exactly is going

on inside of a depressed person is there
a biological basis for these intense

feelings of sadness in the past
depression was often described as simply

a chemical imbalance in the brain
specifically scientists believe that a

lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin
was to blame

which is often referred to as the
feel-good chemical however the only real

evidence for this was that when some
depressed people were prescribed drugs

which increase serotonin levels it
helped alleviate their symptoms but

while chemicals most certainly are
involved

this view doesn’t really capture just
how complex depression is in recent

years scientists began to notice that
the brain cell growth and connections

may actually play a larger role when we
look at the brain of a depressed person

studies show that the hippocampus tends
to be much smaller than average other

areas of the brain are also physically
affected but this region in particular

controls memory and emotion and the
longer a person has been depressed

the smaller the hippocampus becomes the
cells and networks literally deteriorate

it turns out that stress may actually be
a main trigger in the decrease of new

neurons in this area of the brain

in fact studies have shown that when
this region of the brain is regenerated

and new neurons are stimulated mood
improves

interestingly many modern drugs
including those which affect serotonin

levels have an indirect effect on the
growth of brain cells

this is likely why serotonin based drugs
seem to help some patients but not for

the reasons we once thought

instead they promote the release of
other chemicals which ultimately

stimulates neurogenesis for the growth
of new neurons

knowing this some scientists now believe
focus should be on drugs which directly

affect neurogenesis

but while your neurons and chemicals may
be the direct influencers many genetic

factors have been discovered as well

one particular study found that a
variation in the serotonin transporter

gene leaves individuals more vulnerable
to depression

every individual has two copies of the
gene one from each parent and this gene

can either be short or long after
tracking 800 young adults over five

years

the study revealed that thirty-three
percent of individuals with one short

version became depressed after stressful
life

events and people with two short jeans
fared even worse

on the other hand those with two long
jeans were much less likely to become

depressed with similar life stress many
other genes have been identified which

increased the likelihood of depression
too and it makes sense when you consider

that depression and bipolar disorder
both run in families

studies of identical twins show that if
one has bipolar disorder

the other has a sixty to eighty percent
chance of developing it too

so while the true cause or causes of
depression have yet to be pinned down

precisely and trust us there’s a huge
list of other variables that studies

suggest may come into play

it’s important to remember that
depression is a disease with the

biological basis along with
psychological and social implications

it’s not simply a weakness that somebody
should get over or even something that

we have a say in and just like heart
disease or cancer shedding light on to

the subject is of the utmost importance
in order to bring funding and proper

research but his depression only a human
phenomenon we look into the question

do dogs get depressed in our latest ASAP
. video and discover the many studies

done to understand depression among
other species including your pets at

home you can click the link in the
description for that video you can also

check out the book animal madness by
laurel fragment which touches on the

subject

in fact you can get it for free from our
friends at audible by going to

audible.com / ASAP

audible is the leading provider of
audiobooks with over 150,000

downloadable titles across all types of
literature

you can download this audiobook or
another of your choice for free at

audible.com / ASAP and with a
subscription you get one free book a

month

special thanks to audible for making
these videos possible if you think

you’re suffering from depression we’ve
included some resources and more

information in the description and
subscribe for more weekly science videos

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