Even 4 or 5 years ago, the future of depression treatment was coming toward us, but it was far enough off to look uncertain. Now, the future is almost here, close enough at least for us to begin getting a sense of what the general outlines will be.
Charles Raison, MD
Recently, two landmark studies have shown conclusively that genes play a definite role in the risk for major mental illness. I suggest that these studies are game changers for psychiatry not because they demonstrate the primacy of genes, but because the genes that most powerfully increase the risk for schizophrenia and autism point straight back to the environment.
In a recent blog post, the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) announced that it will no longer fund clinical trials that don’t simultaneously examine the biological mechanisms underlying the disorder the treatment is designed to address.
Although explanations such as “zinc causes depression” are satisfyingly simple, my work as a researcher has made me more and more convinced that we have come to the limit of what this type of “disease-based perspective” can do in terms of unravelling the mysteries of major depressive disorder or in discovering new treatments.
In psychiatry, the age of simple answers is over. I’ve done as much as anyone to propagate the notion that depression is an inflammatory condition, which is one of those simple statements that fills us with hope for easy solutions.
A recent study provides evidence that rates of Alzheimer’s disease rise in lockstep with increased levels of hygiene and reduced rates of infection.
With the whir of the 2013 U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress behind us, it is a good moment to reflect on what—in my opinion—made this the best Congress in recent memory.
Gut bacteria may contribute to whether you are calm and happy, or anxious and sad. On a clinical level, we have to ask ourselves whether we can be far off from stool transplantation as a treatment for at least some psychiatric diseases.
How can the 500 million people who use Facebook on a daily basis be wrong?
The search for biomarkers certainly must be the most persistent holy grail quest in biological psychiatry. A recent study from Emory University may represent a promising turning point in the predictive biomarker quest.