Depression set to become killer disease worldwide


‘Major’ depression is a severe and widespread psychiatric disorder which is on way to becoming a killer disease worldwide.

However, despite extensive investigations, the exact mechanisms that lead to major depression or MD have not been identified.

A series of studies highlight some of the current advances in biological psychiatry, neuroscience and neuroendocrinology which are shedding light on the connection between stress and depression.

The collection (11 research papers) “Stress-Induced Depression and Comorbidities: From Bench to Bedside”, represents the output of a group of international research institutions, who collaborated around the causal link between stress exposure and depression vulnerability.

“The papers for the collection… deserve timely publication as they are all reflecting forefront research in stress-induced depression spanning from basic to clinical research,” said Bernhard Baune, professor James Cook University, Australia.

“The employed animal models represent state-of-art research, which is promising for furthering the development of clinically relevant interventions in patients with stress-induced depression. All the papers are of high quality,” he added.

Within the collection, preclinical and clinical research papers present the results of an integrated experimental effort, employing methods from biological psychiatry, neuroscience and neuroendocrinology and emphasising how the link between stress and depression can be deeper, said a James Cook release.

The collection is to be published this week online in the open-access peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.

Infection setback in prem babies

LAHORE: A treatment thought to improve a premature baby’s chance of fighting infection does not actually provide any benefit, a UK study suggests.

A protein is given to stimulate growth of white blood cells and boost immune systems of babies born very early.

But research in 280 babies born at 31 weeks or under found it did not prevent blood poisoning – a major cause of newborn deaths.

Experts said the findings in The Lancet medical journal were unexpected. Premature babies are particularly vulnerable to infection and those that survive can face developmental delay and neurological problems due to brain damage.

Those who have a lower than normal birth weight for their age are particularly prone to low white blood cell counts – or neutropenia – and this further increases the risk of infection.

Neonatal specialists have increasingly been using a protein known as granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in the hope of increasing white blood cells and preventing infection.

GM-CSF has already been shown to be effective in cancer patients whose immune systems have been damaged by chemotherapy.

But the trial of babies born at 31 weeks or under in 26 centres across England and Wales found no significant difference in deaths from blood poisoning – or sepsis – due to infection in those who had GM-CSF or those who had standard management.

Researchers did find that the number of white blood cells increased after treatment as expected.

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