Connecting brain cells and depression Iqaluit NU

Although depression can be successfully treated with a combination of anti-depressants and therapy, researchers are now focusing on pills that stimulate the part of the brain that can generate new brain cells.

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Connecting brain cells and depression

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(NC)-Did you know that the brain can in fact grow new brain cells? New research shows that humans continue to develop new brain cells throughout their life in a process called neurogenesis. This discovery debunks the myth that humans have a finite number of brain cells.

Scientists also discovered that the brain's ability to grow new brain cells may have an impact on depression, and it may be possible to treat depression by stimulating neurogenesis in the specific area of the brain that is linked to depression.

Currently, the most common treatments for depression are drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. SSRI's stimulate a chemical in the brain called serotonin which may cause many unpleasant side effects and many patients continue to have symptoms of depression when taking these drugs.

A company called BrainCells Inc. is currently studying an investigational new way to treat depression called BCI-540. It is the first drug ever studied for its ability to stimulate neurogenesis in the area of the brain associated with depression.

"We have shown that BCI-540 directly impacts neurogenesis without affecting serotonin levels in the brain," said Carrolee Barlow, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer at BrainCells, Inc. "This may provide patients with advantages over currently available medications."

Dr. Barlow believes that studying the link between neurogenesis and depression may yield a new way to treat people who suffer from depression. Recently, BrainCells announced that it is conducting a clinical trial of BCI-540 throughout Canada.

According to Health Canada and Statistics Canada, approximately eight percent of adult Canadians will experience a major depression at some point in their lives, and around five percent will experience depression in a given year. Depression continues to be Canada's fastest-rising diagnosis.

Common symptoms of depression include feeling worthless, helpless or hopeless, sleeping more or less than usual, eating more or less than usual, overwhelming feelings of sadness or grief and loss of energy. If you or a loved one is being treated for depression or you think you may be suffering from depression,

- News Canada