Depression Sucks

In Related News: (of sorts) Maybe this development will help people in this guy's position as well.

This development might help though. It's at a point in the scientific (not manufacturing) process where
they realize what was causing something else. Now they've just got to find how and why it has such effects so that those can be modulated with medical precision.
[Link] The newly found protein, named p11, appears to regulate how brain cells respond to serotonin, researchers from Rockefeller University and Sweden's Karolinska Institute report Friday in the journal Science.

"We're all very excited about this discovery," said Nobel laureate Paul Greengard, a Rockefeller neuroscientist who led the research. "People have been looking for modulators of serotonin for a long time."
My fingers are crossed. Well, you know what I mean.
_Depressed people have substantially lower levels of p11 in their brain tissue than the non-depressed. So did a breed of mice, called "helpless" mice, that exhibit depression symptoms.
Yep. I've never feel much like a sheople, but freakin' helpless mouse about describes me when I get depressed about some of the decisions I've made throughout my life. If they can find that the cause effecting my poor decision making in regards to money and women (in that order) is genetical and physical, than I'm willing to foot a personally significant portion of the bill ($240 mo on my current HMO.)

_So the researchers bred mice that had no p11-producing gene. They acted depressed, and had fewer 1B receptors and less serotonin activity than regular mice. They also were less likely to improve with depression medication.
Never would've guessed that genetic therapy could work; even backwards.

Mice genetically altered to produce extra p11 acted in just the opposite way — no depression-like behavior, and their brain cells carried extra serotonin-signaling receptors.

Now to me, that sounds like substantial proof of the p11 concept. I wonder if ...

"The p11 is upstream of the receptor, and now the question is what is upstream of the p11," Greengard said.

Sure. What's the trigger's trigger?

But Sharp noted that bouts of depression often are associated with serious stress, and that p11 is part of a protein family known to be sensitive to certain stress-related hormones.

Shi.. oot. Sounds like the Chicken and the Egg all over again. If the quantity of p11 is genetically determined and a person is short on it from it's egg and sperm, then this track of research could be a motherload of new treatments for depression. Nano-molecular biology is what they used to produce those mice. Both phenotypes. Again, to me, it sounds like this would be a stemcell project eventually.

But if the low-dose of p11 is more because of a susceptibility to change from stress of other sources, then, even if it doesn't fix a defect, it may still be a short term treatment with higher than current probability of success. One can hope.


  1. Hi Michael,

    Thanks so much for the Happy New Year wish. Hope your New Year brings you much happiness.

    Read your post about depression. Depression is a serious problem that affects 18 million or nearly one in ten American adults each year.

    Suicides outnumber homicides by a ratio of three to two.

    The World Health Organization reports that five of the ten leading disabilities are related to mental health disorders.

    Of interest, statistically, those who volunteer some of their time to improving the lives of others have a far lower incident of depression and suicide than the general public.

    Connecting in joyful human contact and impacting others positively both empower us and make us feel we matter. Not coincidentally, they also seem to be key in overcoming depression.

    I think it's lack of real, meaningful and joyful human contact that paves the way for depression.

    We know that babies who are fed, bathed and taken care of physically, but otherwise put in a crib and ignored, will die. They need laughter, they need contact. I don't think those needs end with adulthood.

    Yet our culture has promoted relationships with technology over relationships with people.

    I love the Internet, I think it's fantastic that I can sit here and communicate with you, but it can't compare to a face to face conversation with shared laughter and bantering or shared effort.

    On top of that we have what I believe is incredible stress just trying to deal with all the stimili of our modern culture, all the signs we have to pay attention to and all the sounds, not to mention the media we attend to. It fills us up with chaos.

    Human nervous systems are not made to digest it all, I don't think.

    We need time sitting around campfires, telling stories, fixing meals, chopping wood. But that's sure not how we live in the "first world." Industrialization has really been a mixed blessing.

    People living under $3 a day in third world countries seem, on the whole - unless they're being chased out of their homes with machetes - happier than we are in the West with all our material possessions.

    If you're interested in what I think is a great book on this subject, read Me to We by two young guys, Craig & Marc Kielburger.

    Marc started Free The Children when he was twelve as a result of reading an article about a boy sold into slavery at the age of 4 and chained to a carpet loom where he spent 12 hours a day tying tiny knots. The boy escaped at the age of 10, but was murdered at the age of 12 for speaking out against child exploitation.

    Craig was so hurt and enraged over the injustice, over what happened to a boy his age, that he had to do something.

    As a result, ten years later, the organization he founded has improved the lives of over a million children in 35 countries.

    In any event, it is a fantastic book and certainly has me thinking about what more I can do to help alleviate suffering.

    I guess the point is, Craig Kielburger is never depressed because he's too busy making a difference and making real friends en route.

    And if we all connect and spend more time with people in positive and productive action, we will have less time to be depressed.

    All the best,

  2. Yes Michael, but if you just believed you wouldn't have to worry about depression because you would have Jesus! Sorry, couldn't resist.

  3. I think it's lack of real, meaningful and joyful human contact that paves the way for depression.

    The lack of this is what precipitated both of my marital collapses. Thinking I could have it with one I really couldn't - because we'd shared glimpses of it together - and the desire for such itself, are what led me into both marriages.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    LOL! No way man! Jebus is the ultimate two-timer! He's always claiming to be everyone's personal savior but where is he when the creek does rise? {-; Dude provides even less relief than Paxil! At least that gave me bed-sweats!...

    Thanks for the laugh as much as my thanks to Clyo (; for the straight take. I can use 'em both to help remind that that gettin' married or gettin' Jesus are equally unsatisfactory ways of finding happiness.

  4. Hi Michael,

    Wow, good post. My second wife was clinically depressed and it eventually led to our divorce. She told me about her condition right up front while we were dating, but naively I thought that if I was just a little more patient, and little more understanding, I could help her through her depressive states, and ameliorate her manic phases through sheer force of will, I guess.

    Boy, was I wrong.

    The science described in your post may lead to an effective treatment for depression. I hope it does, for the sake of all the baffled husbands, wives, friends, and family members out there who have no idea why their depressed loved one keeps getting depressed, even though they are trying their damnedest to help.

  5. Thanks Brent.

    but naively I thought that if I was just a little more patient, and little more understanding,

    I thought that if I loved her she would love herself so that she really loved me. {sigh} Yep. I've read too many phantasies in my life.

    And she is such a great person otherwise. lol .) I hope good things for both of us and Boo too. She's helped me understand what it means to be a father. So now I've another reason to be scared.

    It was just too much too quick. But I'll always feel like me kiddo's s-father.

  6. Not to be depressing but -
    1. We know more about mice than most of us care to;
    2. If they carry this a step further to humans, there will be, ta-da, a new (expensive, life-long) drug offerred for it, and if we don't want pharma in our lives, we are back to
    3. DIY therapy which doesn't always work.
    (4. I freely admit I know nothing about gene therapy...)

  7. Michael,

    I can really relate to the depression. My husband and I both struggle with it. I am willing to take medication but he is not. That makes it hard sometimes. St. Johnswort helps him. I am not on anything right now but I had been considering it recently. I don't think I will need to because things have improved for me so much lately.

    I'm amazed at the people who think you just "need jesus" to "get over" depression. I went for that for many years and it ended up making me feel worse about everything. I couldn't agree with them and it made me feel unworthy in too many ways. Plus they were so uptight about everything. And then there was the way they all said one thing in the church and then went out and did the opposite. Then treated me like the sinner and harlot when my husband left me and we got divorced. If my life were more pleasing to god, that wouldn't have happened, right? At least I'm not bitter, huh?

  8. A little bitter helps the medicine go down, goddamit... {sigh}

    Thank you. May you enjoy your now more than then. I'm working on that myself.

  9. Oh hey dus7, I didn't know nearly enough about mice until watching the movie version of their story.

    Now I find them fascinatin' as all hekk {-.)

  10. Hey Michael,

    Thanks for saying, "Hi" on my blog. Depression is a pretty complex problem. It mostly starts off from environmental reasons and then it becomes chemical because or brains make our feelings with chemicals.

    One thing I find helps a lot is to meditate on what is causng the depression. Once you figure out your triggers you can work on deprogramming your brain.

    Your brain is much like an old L.P. where your needle gets stuck in the same groove each time a certain trigger comes along and turns on the record player. It usually stems back to prolonged times of stress in our formative years.

    So once you recognize what is triggering the icky feelings, you can be brutally honest with yourself about what is causing these feelings and then it takes a few months but if you learn to catch yourself starting to turn on the bad feelings you can use your thoughts to change tracks.

    Do this often enough and you have formed a new groove for the L.P. needle on the record player to fall into.

    Also, whatever makes you feel good- like walks in the woods or eating a nice big bowl of salad or reading a good book, you can force yourself to think of these things whenever you feel down, instead of letting yourself fall into the bad feelings.

    Taking vitamin supplements is also a real good idea, and eating well and avoiding too much alcohol and smokes and sugar and coffee, which can deplete your body of vitamins, and stop you from absorbing them into your system.

    Vitamin B complex is a good thing to take extra with your daily multi-vitamins because B-complex specifically targets depression. Just read up on it first so you don't over or underdose. I know it sounds boring but if you really care about how you feel the vitamins and learning about how your body and mind work are the way to go. They helped me like you wouldn't believe.

    I hope you figure it all out.

    Take care,


  11. Your brain is much like an old L.P. where your needle gets stuck in the same groove each time a certain trigger comes along and turns on the record player. It usually stems back to prolonged times of stress in our formative years.

    Some of those tracks have been playing since I was 5 years old. I can leave them for a while. As you suggest, without making new grooves, it's the old, deep ones that I keep sliding back into.

    I've picked my life up before. Of course with a variety of intense and short-lived friendships to sustain me for hard part of finding my balance in a different kind of life, after I've climbed out of the old groove.

    I really have yet to find a new groove. One where it doesn't matter how confidant I feel approaching it, I'll want to do it so much that I'll plan it and take the steps to ease into it. I've got some idea of what that is, but I need to give myself time, without emotional distractions (cuz that's all they've been for me for a looong time) to settle the various parts of my life into well understood habits that are actually good for me, as opposed those old hangups proscribed by them young boy grooves.

    Taking vitamin supplements is also a real good idea, and eating well and avoiding too much alcohol and smokes and sugar and coffee, which can deplete your body of vitamins, and stop you from absorbing them into your system.

    Speakin' of which ... Regardless of the vitamins efficacy (I do take a daily multi cuz it's easy) If it's chems and dreams that keep me down, I feel so bad because I'm need encouragement more than I could possibly want to need anything. Talk about stuck in a groove?! I can still here my mom's uncertain voice saying "We know you're a good kid. You can do whatever you want if you just apply yourself. You know?"

    Know. I didn't know what it was that I wanted.

    I hope you figure it all out.

    You and me both Lady. I've really little choice but to keep trying. At least sometimes, some of the newer grooves look more appealing. I've wanted a website for about 8 years, and I've enjoyed blogging on Silly Humans that entire time. It's gotten me through some tough situations in the last 5 months.

    Thanks for the idea-flora Fawna. .)

  12. My pleasure, Michael. I know how important it is to hear words from others. I have a friend or two who are invaluable to me and very, very dear.

    I know what you mean about falling into short, intense relationships and using that as a crutch or a distraction from our problems. I had one or two real doozies in my time. My solution was to go for someone whom I was able to relate to intellectually- and that marriage lasted many, many years and we both got a whole lot out of it. We both really grew as people. Much more than I got from the ones where there was all this passion and not much between us outside of that.

    I have lots of encouragement for my pals but that also comes with realistic feedback, I like to dole out the genuine stuff and call it as I see it even if it hurts someone at first- because it's what makes us grow and challenge ourselves. Only a true friend takes the risk of offending and losing someone even if it hurts them to think of losing that person, if they think it will pay off for their friend to be honest with them.

    I think a real friend knows when to be sweet and when to be tough. I think a real friendship that's rich with demension demands that we keep growing and challenging one another, and also know when to just be warm.

    And I also think that what feels good isn't nescessary always what's best for us. Emotions, like fast food, can be a quick fix that only compounds a longterm problem. An unhealthy addiction.

    That's all the stuff I've learned about relationships over my life. But I also remember that I'll never be perfect, and in a sense, loving my own imperfections (or learning to do so) has liberated me to be more confident.

    Stuff my Mom said- well she said lots of mean stuff- I try and see her shortcomings as a parent as something I just try REAL hard not to do to my own kids. For the first couple of years after my daughter was born I was in constant emotional agony because I would get urges to hurt my kid. My own flesh and blood. I had to BIGHT back in my own soul to stop myself. And you know- I did it. I made it through a new person. I burnt that new track in spite of my own Mom and all her baggage that she put on me with her thoughtless words. And I never looked back. And I have even forgiven her, and tired my best to see what made her the way she was, and look for the good parts and seperate them from the pain so I could feel loved by her. Because fight it though we may- we all need guidance, love and approval.

    All the power to you, Michael. Live, Love, Learn. Know thyself. Believe in who you were meant to be.Believe in those who believe in you. You can totally do it.


  13. I came back by and read the Comments more carefully - great stuff, and TY to Michael and Fawna for sharing part of themselves here. Some of us don't talk about personal 'issues' on our blogs, but that doesn't mean we don't have them and aren't always looking for clues, too.

  14. As an effective medicine, paxil would surely provide you immense relief if you are in the grip of panic disorder, depression or generalized anxiety disorder but it is altogether true that the usage of Paxil occasionally facilitates certain side-effects such as headache, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat et al. These side-effects can yield serious results if not treated immediately hence take this medicine only on proper prescription.


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