Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lloyd I. Sederer, MD Blog Excerpt Biomarkers for Depression: Promise or Prime Time?

Complexity and networks.

Here's the tail end of an excerpt from a blog by  Lloyd I. Sederer, MD.Medical director, New York State Office of Mental Health:
Genetics and neuroscience rival the complexity of the physics of the universe. With genetic inheritance alone, there is hardly a single or simple pathway. Often, many genes are involved in complex diseases like diabetes and depression. The genes themselves actually vary in their form and expression (called genetic alleles). Those many genes, and their alleles, also are subject to highly-variable expression as a result of the physical and emotional environment they encounter in individual human beings -- with genes being turned on and off continuously by countless factors to which the person is exposed. And even within the specific cells that the genes send their messages to (via mRNA), ever-changing intracellular activity exerts further influence on what proteins are then synthesized that drive cellular functioning. As if that cascade were not complex enough, genes mutate. They change. Some changes are quite common and some rare, but our genes are constantly undergoing changes that may be adaptive or maladaptive to our everyday lives.

Yet science is remarkable, and by dint of effort, good luck and (often accidental) discovery our species enjoys vastly greater health and life prospects than our ancestors. But brain biomarkers are not what distressed patients and families should invest in right now as they seek better diagnosis and treatment of depression. Careful clinical assessment, systematically-developed and followed treatment plans created between patient and doctor, ongoing monitoring, and course corrections when needed remain the state of the art and science. That is how the predominance of people with depression today can improve and experience greater pleasure, purpose and productivity.

To read the full-blown blog post, go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment