Click for Ann Arbor, Michigan Forecast
Saturday November 22, 2014
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Print Comment E-mail

The Sleep-Depression Connection

 

continued

"People were used to thinking about psychological states as something really different from our body," says Huda Akil, co-director of the U-M's Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute and Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium. "The more we study the biology of depression, the more we see they're really closely intertwined."

Akil and other U-M researchers are uncovering the links between depression and circadian rhythms, the biological clocks that make most people energetic in mid-morning, hungry in the afternoon, and tired at night. It turns out that the rhythms of depressed individuals--nearly one in ten Americans--are skewed. That explains their troubled sleep and eating habits, diminished sexual needs, and poor ability to concentrate--and opens a new path to treating mood disorders by resetting sufferers' internal clocks.

U-M genetics prof Jun Li was lead author on a paper reporting the results of a study of fifty brains. The researchers noted the levels of certain hormones present in the brain at the time of death and matched them to those that are active in the brain at a given time of day. Typically, the brain secretes a stress hormone called cortisol in the morning to get ready for the day's activities; at night, melatonin prepares the body for sleep.

For healthy individuals, Li's team was able to develop a formula that correlated hormone levels with the person's time of death. But the formula didn't work for people who had suffered from mood disorders--their hormonal cycles were out of whack.

Bookmark and Share
previous  ·  1 l 2 l 3 l 4  ·  next page
all on one page
read more stories here -> Marketplace  l  Culture  l  Community  l  News
Ms Green Construction, We are energy saving specialists that make existing homes energy efficient
custom sound systems for your home
Pet Supplies Plus Bird Barn with outdoor bird feeders and supplies.