The effectiveness of psychiatric drugs varies considerably in individuals being treated for depression or schizophrenia. These drugs act on serotonin, a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) central to the regulation of moods. Scientists from Oxford and Belfast have discovered more about emotional processing and genetic variations that will help to inform treatment strategies.
The long-held view that serotonin levels are low in people with depression has been challenged by Philip Cowen, professor of psychopharmacology at Oxford University. "We asked what evidence is there that the action is abnormal and this stimulated new thinking about how anti-depressants work," he said at the British Neuroscience Association meeting in Liverpool today (21 April).
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