Correcting Metabolic Deficiencies May Improve Depression Symptoms

Correcting Metabolic Deficiencies May Improve Depression Symptoms
 

Identifying and treating metabolic deficiencies in patients with treatment-resistant depression can improve symptoms and in some cases even lead to remission, according to new research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry

“What’s really promising about these new findings is that they indicate that there may be physiological mechanisms underlying depression that we can use to improve the quality of life in patients with this disabling illness,” said the senior author.

 Major depressive disorder, also referred to simply as depression, affects nearly 15 million American adults and is one of the most common mental disorders. Unfortunately, at least 15 percent of patients don’t find relief from conventional treatments such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy, explained lead study investigator.

 The groundwork for the current study was laid five years ago when the researchers treated a teen with a history of suicide attempts and long-standing depression. “Over a period of years, we tried every treatment available to help this patient, and yet he still found no relief from his depression symptoms,” author explained.

 Searching for answers, they discovered that the patient had a cerebrospinal fluid deficiency in biopterin, a protein involved in the synthesis of several brain signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters.

 After receiving an analogue of biopterin to correct the deficiency, the patient’s depression symptoms largely disappeared and today he is a thriving college student.
 The success prompted the researchers to examine other young adults with depression who were not responding to treatment, explained the author.

 In the published trial, the researchers looked for metabolic abnormalities in 33 adolescents and young adults with treatment-resistant depression and 16 controls. Although the specific metabolites affected differed among patients, the researchers found that 64 percent of the patients had a deficiency in neurotransmitter metabolism, compared with none of the controls.

 In almost all of these patients, treating the underlying deficiency improved their depression symptoms, and some patients even experienced complete remission. In addition, the further along the patients progress in the treatment, the better they are getting, author added.

 “It’s really exciting that we now have another avenue to pursue for patients for whom our currently available treatments have failed. This is a potentially transformative finding for certain groups of people with depression,” said the author.

http://www.upmc.com/media/NewsReleases/2016/Pages/l-pan.aspx

Edited

Rating

Unrated
Rating: