AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Antidepression Medication Protects Against Compounds Linked to Dementia

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According to a study recently published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, antidepressant medication may also protect against compounds that cause memory loss and dementia. Results of the study found that blood levels of two neurotoxic compounds dropped significantly in depressed patients after they were treated with the antidepressant escitalopram. Stress and depression interact in a vicious cycle that stimulate the body’s immune system and then sparks an inflammatory response. To examine the inflammatory response, researchers measured blood levels of nine substances secreted by the immune system in 30 severely depression patients and compared them to 27 healthy participants. At the beginning of the study, average levels of all nine of these substances were higher in the depressed patients than in the healthy subjects. The differences were statistically significant with four of these substances (hsCRP, TNF?, IL6 and MCP1). The inflammatory response can lead to the production of neurotoxic compounds that can kill brain cells, leading to memory loss and dementia if the depression goes untreated or fails to respond adequately to treatment. The study found that among patients treated with escitalopram, levels of two neurotoxic compounds dropped significantly. Levels of 3-hydroxykynurenine fell by more than two-thirds between week eight and week 12. Levels of quinolinic acid dropped 50 percent during the first eight weeks and were lower at the end of the study than at the beginning. To read more about this study, click here.

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