By Staff Writer
Low levels of a particular brain chemical may increase the risk of depression and other mood disorders, according to a new study from University of Michigan researchers. The findings may help drug rehab and mental health facilities provide personalized treatment for their patients.
The researchers said that some people have genetic makeups that cause their bodies to produce lower levels of the chemical neuropeptide Y or NPY. Previous studies have shown that higher levels of this compound in the brain can calm people down after they have gone through a traumatic event.
Furthermore, in the current study, the researchers found that individuals who suffer from depression are more likely to have low levels of NPY. The discovery was made after testing the brains of three different groups of participants.
The authors of the study said that the findings are significant because they give pharmaceutical researchers a new target for treating depression. Current drugs used in depression therapies mostly focus on increasing levels of serotonin, which has been associated with mood.
However, not all patients respond to these treatments. The findings could lead to the development of new drugs that more effectively target the underlying causes of depression.