New discovery could lead to new anti-depressant drugs

Researchers believe a new discovery could eventually lead to the development of more advanced anti-depressant drugs.

The team at King’s College London have found the detailed mechanism behind how stress hormones reduce the number of new brain cells – a process that is said to be linked to depression.

They identified a protein that was responsible for damaging brain cells and managed to successfully block it using a drug compound.

Depression affects around one in five people in the UK and the World Health Organisation believes it will be the leading cause of disease globally by 2030. This highlights just how important it is for new treatments to be developed as quickly as possible, especially when considering that existing drugs only have a success rate between 50 and 65 per cent.

Levels of workplace stress appear to be rising in the UK – thanks largely to the after-effects of the recession – and this is having a detrimental impact on the nation’s health.

New research undertaken by the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen showed that stress can trigger cardiovascular diseases and can also have a negative effect on a person’s metabolism.

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