Researchers at Yale University found that stress in rats blocks the activity of a gene that promotes healthy neural connections in the brain. The findings, published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that activating the gene (neuritin, which functions similarly in humans) led to an effect that protected against both depression and the brain atrophy associated with depression. Said an author, “there’s good evidence there’s a loss of synaptic connections in depressed rodents and depressed patients. If you don’t have the appropriate number of connections in synapses, your brain isn’t going to function properly.”
Son, H., Banasr, M., et al; “Neuritin produces antidepressant actions and blocks the neuronal and behavioral deficits caused by chronic stress,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online June 25, 2012
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