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ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2010) — Yale University researchers have found a gene that seems to be a key contributor to the onset of depression and is a promising target for a new class of antidepressants, they report Oct. 17 in the journal Nature Medicine.

“This could be a primary cause, or at least a major contributing factor, to the signaling abnormalities that lead to depression,” said Ronald S. Duman, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale and senior author of the study.

Scientists have had a difficult time pinning down the cause of depression, which afflicts almost 16 percent of Americans in any given year and carries an annual economic burden of $100 billion.

Symptoms of depression vary widely among individuals. Most now believe that multiple physiological processes are involved in major depressive disorder. That explains why people respond differently to most commonly prescribed antidepressants, which work by manipulating the uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. However, as many as 40 percent of depressed patients do not respond to currently available medications, which take weeks to months to produce a therapeutic response.

Read in Full:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101017133639.htm



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