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Do Some Meds Have the Wrong Target?

Do Some Meds Have the Wrong Target?

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More than half the people who take antidepressants for depression never get relief because the cause of depression has been oversimplified and drugs designed to treat it aim at the wrong target, according to research from Northwestern University. The medications are like arrows shot at the outer rings of a bull's eye instead of the center, experts say. A study from laboratory of depression researcher Eva Redei appears to topple two strongly held beliefs about depression. One is that stressful life events are a major cause of depression. The other is that an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain triggers depressive symptoms. Redei has found that there is almost no overlap between stress-related genes and depression-related genes. Both findings are significant because these beliefs were the basis for developing drugs currently used to treat depression. "This research opens up new routes to develop new antidepressants that may be more effective," Redei says. "There hasn't been an antidepressant based on a novel concept in 20 years."

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