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There are over 350 million people who are affected on any given day by depression across the world, making it no wonder why this is a condition that is treated as a very serious medical illness. Unfortunately, depression is also one of the most difficult mental illnesses to treat, and this creates a tough situation for all of those afflicted with the condition. There is no blanket cure or treatment for depression, and what may work beautifully for one individual could be useless for the next, so it’s important that science begins taking a good look at the big picture when it comes to fighting this disease.

In previous years, depression was often written off by medical science as simply “an imbalance of chemicals in the brain”, but research performed by modern science has come up with some rather interesting findings. One professor at the University of San Francisco’s department of Health Sciences made the connection between depression and genetics, stating that depression could be a hereditary condition passed down from generation to generation through genes.

Another scientific breakthrough on the topic of depression found that rather than a chemical problem in the brain, depression may actually be related to cell growth and brain connections. The hippocampus portion of the brain, the part in charge of memory and emotion, has been shown to shrink as a person experiences depression. As the hippocampus shrinks, the cells and networks that make up this portion of the brain will start to deteriorate, and this could be a huge contributing factor to the depression a person may experience.

While more research will be necessary on both theories involving genetics and brain cells and networks, these pose as huge breakthroughs concerning how depression will be diagnosed and treated in the future. By finding an accurate root cause, or root causes, treatment options can begin to really get to the base of the problem, and this could lead to better treatment plans and even a cure somewhere in the future. We love the advancements in medical science regarding depression at NAMI, and we look forward to seeing what this may mean for future generations afflicted with the disease.

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