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Serotonin map of brain could lead to better targeted antidepressants

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firemonkee57

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Research that aims to map the activity of serotonin in the brain could revolutionise the use of antidepressants and behavioural therapy for people with mental illnesses.

The neurotransmitter serotonin has long been associated with mood, with drugs that boost the chemical in the brain helping to alleviate the symptoms of common illnesses such as depression and anxiety, but scientists lack a deep understanding of how it mediates different mood disorders.

By understanding the biology of serotonin, the hope is that drugs can be created that only target cells relevant to a particular disorder and behavioural therapies can be made more effective, reducing the need for antidepressants.

Dr Jeremiah Cohen, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute in Baltimore, said: “The ultimate aim is to understand the biology of mood and how groups of cells in the brain connect to produce our emotional behaviour. Most antidepressants operate broadly in the entire serotonin system. What we hope to do with this map is use drugs that are available or design new drugs that will target only the components of that system relevant to a particular disorder.”


Serotonin map of brain could lead to better targeted antidepressants | Science | The Guardian
 
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