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Archive for the ‘Neurotrophins’ Category

HealthDay (4/12, Dotinga, http://tinyurl.com/antidepressants-stroke) reported that a new study in rodents suggests that antidepressants and mood stabilizers might help recovery in stroke patients. The drugs have been linked in rodents to a growth of new brain cells which reduced the severity of the strokes the lab mice experienced.  It’s too early to tell if the drugs will have any effect on human stroke patients, but scientists say they’re curious because their study showed that the growth of new brain cells helped mice recover from the effects of stroke.  Researchers at the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, Calif., studied mice that were genetically engineered to either grow new brain cells prior to a stroke or fail to grow them. Those who did develop the fresh neurons tended to have smaller strokes and recover more easily, although it’s not clear why.  The researchers didn’t test drugs on humans that appear to boost the growth of new brain cells, but they believe that notion is worth studying.  The study appears in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Medscape (9/21, Brauser) reported that, according to a study presented at a medical conference, “a neurogenesis-based platform may be leading the way in helping to identify new treatments for depression.” A team from the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital evaluated “the efficacy of” the neurogenic compound called “BCI-952 for the treatment of MDD” by randomly assigning a “total of 134 patients with” major depbdnfressive disorder “to receive the BCI-952 combination (n = 67), buspirone alone (n = 34), or placebo (n = 33) during a six-week period.” At study end, they found that “the mean CGI-I scores were statistically significant for those treated with BCI-952 compared with those treated with placebo,” and “the responders’ analysis for CGI-I…demonstrated a higher response rate for BCI-952, at 58 percent vs. 38 percent for buspirone alone,” and “36 percent for placebo.”

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bdnfMedWire (9/15, Davenport) reports that, according to a study published in the journal Bipolar Disorders, “euthymic bipolar disorder patients have similar serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels to those of healthy individuals, supporting the theory that treatment normalizes levels of the neurotrophin.” For the study, researchers from Brazil’s Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre “used an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to measure serum BDNF levels in 65 euthymic patients with bipolar I disorder and 50 healthy controls.” The team also “administered a neurocognitive battery to assess attention and mental control, perceptual-motor skills, executive function, verbal fluency, verbal abstraction, visuospatial attention, and memory function.” The investigators discovered “no significant differences in serum BDNF levels between patients and controls.”

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bdnfHealthDay (5/28, Preidt) reported that, according to a study published online May 28 in the journal Science, “a naturally occurring protein” called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) “plays a role in the disrupted functioning of the brain’s reward circuitry seen in people with drug and alcohol dependence.” In the study, researchers from the University of Toronto and Brigham Young University “found that a single injection of BDNF made rats behave as if they were dependent on opiates, even though they’d never been given the drugs.” The team “also found that the BDNF injections in the rats caused certain chemicals that normally inhibit neurons in the brain’s reward circuitry to excite neurons, which is what happens when people become dependent on drugs.” The authors suggested that “BDNF plays a major role in inducing drug dependency.”

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