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Could the Treatment For Depression Be the Same As the Treatment For Diabetes?

Could the Treatment For Depression Be the Same As the Treatment For Diabetes?

For decades, physicians, mental health experts and individuals have struggled to find answers to the crippling problems of depression. Now, researchers have posed an interesting new theory: insulin.

Researchers at the University of Toronto stated Monday that intriguing new research seems to suggest that insulin has much more impact on the brain and mood disorders than previously thought.

A trial completed in early March at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto saw patients with depression being treated with nasal insulin rather than traditional methods. While it’s in the very early days, the results appear to be positive.

The issue with treating mental health is that even the most recent advances in pharmaceutical treatments are no more effective at treating or controlling depression than the drugs on the market in the 1950s. This new research seems to suggest that perhaps a wholesale alteration to treatment approaches are necessary.  Part of the urge to point research in this direction was the fact that 50% to 75% of depression and bi-polar patients are either diabetic, obese or overweight. Other research has shown that insulin plays a significant role in the development of the brain and other neurological functions, said Dr. Roger McIntyre, a psychiatrist and University of Toronto researcher.

“If you step out of psychiatry and you look into another area, like diabetes, a condition defined by insulin problems, those individuals on the surface have many of the same problems that our patients have,” he said in the National Post. “They have lots of mood disturbances and cognitive changes and their brains are as affected as our patients.”

Given that this research is in its infancy, it will be years before enough trials can be run to determine a scientifically proven link, and even longer before effective treatments can be based on the research. Still, it’s a hopeful line of attack and one that could bode well for treatments in the future.


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3:23AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011


6:21PM PDT on Apr 3, 2011

Far too simplistic a conclusion for a huge complex of problems.

For one thing, what about young or skinny people who have severe depression? Whole different story there.

6:06PM PDT on Apr 3, 2011


11:57AM PDT on Apr 3, 2011

Fingers crossed, I have been suffering for years with depression.

7:41AM PDT on Apr 3, 2011

In principle allopathic medicine based on the scientific method is the best. In reality it has a lot of problems. It is driven by profit which benefits from illness not health. It also tends to ignore psychological aspects of health and the concept that probably most illnesses can be cured/controlled if the body is healthy and functioning properly. Allopathic medicine tends to focus too much on pills and treating symptoms instead of underlying imbalances.

7:15AM PDT on Apr 3, 2011

Preach on, Debra. I encourage anyone who's really serious about living healthy to take a hard look at their diet.

2:59AM PDT on Apr 3, 2011

Thanks for the article.

10:04PM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

My family and I have been on a more natural and less processed diet for a few years now and has made a big difference in our health! my husband who was diagnosed with diabetes before our food changes does not need drugs, my daughter that was on meds for ADHD before no longer needs them and I suffer from inflammation when I eat HFCS, so our occasional soft drinks is a natural sugar soda or juice diluted with club soda. Now regular soda tastes awful. Sugary and fatty food make us ill,so burgers and fries are no longer consumed at our house. Only whole grains,large servings of vegetables,with a tiny amt. of mostly chicken, turkey, or red meat once in a while is what we eat. We also use a lot of supplements since most of the food produced in our depleted soil does not meet our dietary needs.

5:40PM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

Very interesting. Thanks.

4:11PM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

Noted thank you

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