Of all the major illnesses, mental or physical, depression has been one of the toughest to subdue. Despite the ubiquity of antidepressant drugs -- there are now 26 to choose from -- only a third of patients with major depression will experience a full remission after the first round of treatment, and successive treatments with different drugs will give some relief to just 20 to 25 percent more. About 30 percent of people with depression have some degree of treatment resistance. And the greater the degree of resistance, the more likely a future relapse, even if the patient continues taking the drug.
A major drawback of our current antidepressants is that they rely on animal models that have been used for decades, yielding drugs that all work the same way. Novel drugs require identification of new targets in the brain and better animal models in which to screen them.
"A complex problem like depression is much larger than one scientist or lab can handle," said the leader of the group at the Hope foundation, Huda Akil, a professor of neurosciences and psychiatry at the University of Michigan. "What is great about our collaboration is that we can think about big ideas and take risks without worrying about what grant reviewers" -- like the National Institute of Mental Health, the major source of federal funding for psychiatric research -- "might think."
Read how enlightened philanthropists and entrepreneurs are helping to open a promising new pathway for neuroscience research: collaboration among researchers. Read more about this in the artcle written by Dr. Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. found at the New York Times http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/23/a-new-focus-on-depression/?partner=rss&emc=rss
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