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Thank you Readers Digest

Posted by Joel Maxuel on January 15, 2003, at 20:48:42

If anyone has the September 1977 edition of Readers Digest, the article "From Joy to Depression: The Chemistry of Moods" is a must read.

Considering its age, a few of the things mentioned there still should be available. Such as the MHPG levels in urine (and cerebrospinal fluid), a compound derived from norepinephrine, used to determine the manic potential of a person currently suffering from depression. Simply put, if the MHPG level is low, (and the patient is currently depressed) that person has a better chance of becoming manic one day, than patients with a higher MHPG level. The test is also a way to determine the effectiveness of a certain antidepressant (although at the time, the only AD's available were tricyclics, Effexor does inhibit the reuptake of norepineprine, thus possibly would be able to mark an improvement by the MHPG levels).

Also, the severity of depression can be determined by the concentration of the hormone Cortisol in the body. This hormone, that "ordinarily comes into play in situations of bodily stress or emotional emergency, is also produced in abnormally large quantities in the body of a depressed person." This explains the sleep disorders that usually go hand and hand with depression.

Something that seems to be implied is that Norepinephrine ("related to arousal, alertness, euphoria - and mania") is more important than Serotonin ("drowsiness and falling asleep"), which could be why there are a lot of Effexor patients, and at least on this board seem to outnumber the SSRI patients.

The article also explains the function of the tricyclics, which seem to resemble the SSRI's (preventing the reuptake of Norepinephrine VS holding back the reuptake of Serotonin).

Given its age, well, it covers a lot, and I never really got that sneaky suspicion (my spiedy sense) of any amout of it being incorrect given todays information. It makes me want to challenge my pdoc about the results of the above tests, even though my depression is not much of a priority (my schizophrenia is), but it would still be nice to know.

Maybe if someone actually has a library of RD that old, and a scanner /w ocr they could upload the entire article.

Joel Maxuel




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