Overactive glutamate receptor gene tied to depression in women

A new study has found depressed women have an abnormally high expression of the genes that regulate the glutamate system. Psych Central

A Gray et al Sex differences in glutamate receptor gene expression in major depression and suicide Molecular Psychiatry (2015), 1–12


Lack of meaning in life linked to depression and substance abuse

A lack of ultimate meaning in life, considered an important dimension of spirituality, is associated with alcohol abuse and drug addiction, as well as other mental health problems including anxiety and depression, according to a new study. Psych Central

Naelys Diaz, E. Gail Horton and Tammy Malloy Attachment Style, Spirituality, and Depressive Symptoms Among Individuals in Substance Abuse Treatment Journal of Social Service Research, 1–12, 2014


Depression linked to cardiovascular disease risk in rheumatoid arthritis

Depressive symptoms, stress, anger/anxiety, and level of social support may affect cardiovascular risk in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a longitudinal cohort study. Medscape

YL Liu et al(2015)  Psychosocial comorbidities are differentially associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in rheumatoid arthritis: Comparison with MESA Arthritis Care & Research


Laughing gas reduces depression symptoms

Researchers have found the first evidence that the gas nitrous oxide reduces symptoms in patients whose depression has not responded to long-term treatments.  Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation

Peter Nagele et al Nitrous Oxide for Treatment-Resistant Major Depression: A Proof-of-Concept Trial July 1, 2015 Volume 78, Issue 1, Pages 10–18


Genetic links to depression found

For the first time, researchers have hit on two genetic regions associated with major depressive disorder (MDD), hopefully providing new therapeutic targets for the disorder. Medscape Medical News

Na Cai, Tim B. Bigdeli, Warren Kretzschmar & Yihan Li Sparse whole-genome sequencing identifies two loci for major depressive disorder Nature 523, 588–591 (30 July 2015)


Deep brain stimulation treatment for depression fails

Deep brain stimulation of the ventral capsule/ventral striatum failed to improve treatment-resistant depression in the first randomized, sham-controlled study. Medscape Medical News

Darin D Dougherty et al (2015) A Randomized Sham-Controlled Trial of Deep Brain Stimulation of the Ventral Capsule/Ventral Striatum for Chronic Treatment-Resistant Depression Biological Psychiatry

See also: Thomas E. Schlaepfer (2105) Deep Brain Stimulation for Major Depression—Steps on a Long and Winding Road Biological Psychiatry

Most patients with psychiatric disorders respond to combinations of psychotherapy and psychopharmacotherapy; however, some patients experience little, if any, benefit even after many years of treatment. Over the past decade, different modalities of targeted neuromodulation—among them most prominently deep brain stimulation (DBS)—are being actively researched as putative approaches to very treatment-resistant forms of those disorders. The fact that patients included in all DBS studies so far had been treated unsuccessfully for many years with conventional treatment methods renders these findings remarkable.


Depression researchers halt ketamine clinical trial amid funding battle

Australian researchers are forced to close a promising clinical trial using the drug ketamine to treat depression as they struggle for funding. ABC News

Black Dog Institute researchers have demonstrated the enormous potential of ketamine as a new treatment for major depression. Whilst ketamine is approved for use in anaesthesia, it has not received approval for use in depression. This is because there are still significant gaps in our knowledge about dosage levels, treatment protocols and the effectiveness and safety of long term use. UNSW Professor Colleen Loo and her team have done some pioneering work in answering these important questions.


Childhood cannabis use not linked to depression

Using marijuana as a teenager does not appear to be linked to health problems such as depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma later in life, a study has revealed. Daily Mail

Jordan Bechtold, Theresa Simpson, Helene R. White, and Dustin Pardini (2105) Chronic Adolescent Marijuana Use as a Risk Factor for Physical and Mental Health Problems in Young Adult Men Psychology of Addictive Behaviors



Social participation and depression in old age

Joining a religious group is the best activity for treating depression in older people, a study has found. The Mirror

Croezen, Simone, Avendano, Mauricio, Burdorf, Alex and van Lenthe, Frank J. (2015) Social participation and depression in old age: a fixed-effects analysis in 10 European countries. American Journal of Epidemiology


Association between depressive symptoms and cognitive decline

Researchers have found a strong association between depressive symptoms and cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s News Today

LA Johnson et al A depressive endophenotype of poorer cognition among cognitively healthy community-dwelling adults: results from the Western Australia memory study International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Volume 30, Issue 8, pages 881–886, August 2015