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Re: Do antidepressants really work? Althea8869

Posted by SLS on April 5, 2004, at 8:11:17

In reply to Re: Do antidepressants really work?, posted by Althea8869 on April 4, 2004, at 22:34:08

> Scott - please excuse my acronym ignorance, but what is DST?

DST = dexamethasone suppression test

Dexamethasone is a synthetic cortisol. In a negative feedback loop arrangement, ACTH secreted by the pituatary gland stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol. In healthy people, an increase in the blood level of cortisol signals the pituitary gland to reduce its output of ACTH. So too does the introduction of dexamethasone. However, in a sizable percentage of people diagnosed with major depression, dexamethasone fails to suppress the secretion of ACTH. The negative feedback loop fails to limit cortisol production. The DST was investigated intensively during the 1980s, and was used to aid in the diagnosis of endogenous depression.

Some studies suggest that people who are non-suppressors (abnormal) are statistically more severely depressed and, perhaps more importantly, more likely to respond to ECT or medication than suppressors.


- Scott

 

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