Tag Archives: advanced practice nurse

Promising new treatment for depression

Here’s some good news for people who have been having a hard time finding treatment that works for their depression: Scientists are on their way to developing a new and improved one.

The hippocampus.
The hippocampus.

Researchers recently figured out which pathway in the brain antidepressants affect. They call it the BMP signaling pathway, and it’s in the hippocampus. They learned that Prozac and other drugs interrupt this pathway, triggering the brain to produce more neurons — neurons that affect mood.

Armed with this new understanding, they turned to the lab mice. Researchers injected the mice with a brain protein already known to block the BMP pathway. They discovered the protein–called Noggin–does a better job blocking the pathway than traditional antidepressants do.  But more importantly, mice receiving this treatment showed strong signs of overcoming depression.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I wasn’t sure what depression looked like in rats (or mice), but this study enlightened me on some symptoms: When you hang mice upside down by their tails, some will struggle for a long time to right themselves, and some will give up. Giving up is a sign of depression. Similarly, if you put mice in a complicated maze, some explore and some cower. Cowering is a sign of depression, too.

The mice who were receiving the Noggin injections struggled more and explored more than their counterparts who weren’t receiving treatment.

I’m always excited by new discoveries about how the brain works. With our growing understanding, medication for depression will only get better and better.

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.

Psychiatric adanced practice nurses as alternatives to psychiatrists

I read with interest the article written by Gardiner Harris on the Sunday, March 6th of the Bend Bulletin. “Since talking doesn’t pay, psychiatrist simply write prescriptions.” http://bit.ly/eIhDoh I’d like to mention another option to see for your mental health issues which seemed to be neglected in the article. I am a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) in private practice in Bend. Http://bendmentalhealth.com Advanced practice nurses, who have Masters or Doctoral degrees in their specialty, are independent providers in most states of the Union. In the specialty of psychiatry, we do psychiatric evaluations, order and interpret lab work, prescribe medications and do psychotherapy. Most of my patients I see for 45 minutes and many I see once or twice weekly. Most insurances will reimburse my fees. Many patients prefer us to psychiatrists as we spend more time with them listening to them. In fact, because I spend more time with my patients I feel I can be more effective in medication management and am more satisfying to the patient. I do not believe good medication management or any psychiatric care can be done in 15 minutes! For more information about PMHNP services in general please feel free to contact the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.