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Image for post
Allopregnanolone

Neurosteroid disruption has been linked to a wide array of mental and physical health issues, from Alzheimer’s to depression. Neurosteroids are endogenous (originating from within) or exogenous (originating externally) steroids which rapidly modulate neural excitability (how likely a neurone is to fire aka transmit a signal to the next neurone). …


changing leaves
changing leaves
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

Neurotransmitters in adult neurogenesis

Several neurotransmitter systems may regulate adult CNS neurogenesis. Monoamine neurotransmitters are known to influence multiple aspects of neural development, including precursor proliferation, cell survival, axonal growth and synapse formation (29). The neurotransmitter systems covered here encompass the ‘traditional’ neurotransmitters, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate, and neuromodulatory transmitters or neuromodulators such as dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine that are secreted by a small group of neurons and can affect neuronal activity through large brain areas. …


Model of a brain
Model of a brain

This post is a bit of a long one, so I’m breaking into two sections for readability. Firstly, I’ll discuss how depression affects the brain and how long-term depression can make it harder to get out of depressive cycles. I mention this not to be a downer and pessimistic; instead, for me knowing this has made it possible to go easier on myself and become somewhat less frustrated through slow/lack of perceived progress. Change takes time along with effort. Secondly, we’ll go into what influences these changes and how we can try to do something about it.

Although the research is in its initial days (however the connection between hippocampal volume and depression has been reported for over 20 years), there’s a growing amount of data pointing to structural changes in the brain due to depression and other mood disorders. One fMRI study looked at 24 women who had a history of depression. On average, the hippocampus was 9% to 13% [some studies indicate up to a 20% loss] smaller in depressed women compared with those who were not depressed. The more bouts of depression a woman had, the smaller the hippocampus (1). …

About

Josh Atwell

Writing pieces about mental health issues based on the personal research I’ve done to address my own difficulties.

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