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Re: More on SAMe

Posted by dj on August 25, 1999, at 10:24:03

In reply to SAMe, posted by Tom on August 23, 1999, at 12:29:35

from today's National Post -- Canada's other national newspaper from an article written by:
Dr.Norman Doidge who is a research psychiatrist and psychoanalyst -- whoo-ee...

"... If these claims strain credulity, one might first take note of who is making them before being dismissive.

The source is Dr. Richard Brown, a senior psychiatrist associated with Columbia University in New York. When Dick Brown makes a claim, it is foolish not to listen. He is a psychopharmacologist -- a subspecialist in psychiatry -- who deals with "refractory depressions" -- depressions that don't respond to any of the usual medications. For years he has been the consultant that my closest New York colleagues turn to with their most challenging cases. This is not the first time he has stuck his neck out for a medication. About 25 years ago, he was one of the first to recommend -- to a skeptical medical audience -- the psychiatric use of Valproic Acid, a drug now recognized as a lifesaver for certain kinds of manic depression.

The son of a U.S. military man, Brown spent a lot of his childhood in Europe and, interested in plant chemistry, became familiar with European supplements. In the past five years, he has used SAM-e to treat hundreds of patients, including those who didn't respond to other medications, with excellent results. It can also be added to standard antidepressants that are only partially working.

Thirty-nine high-quality, "controlled" studies of its use have been published in major journals and show it is effective in 70% of cases. Even 30% of refractory depressives respond.

...Like standard antidepressants, SAM-e boosts three key chemical messengers in the brain: serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. But it does so by a different mechanism, by reacting with DNA to allow our genes to spring into action. It is probably because our bodies produce it that it has so few side effects.

...But Brown is big on the self-prescribing of SAM-e for milder or medium severity depressions, because most depressed people never end up seeing a clinician. And, since quality control for over-the-counter supplements varies widely, he recommends Nature Made brand, from Italy, which is available at U.S. General Nutrition Center stores and even supermarkets.

But, he notes, caution is warranted. As with any antidepressant, if one has a manic-depressive illness, using SAM-e could trigger a serious manic high; if prone to panic, then panic attacks. If one is suicidal, professional help is always warranted..."




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