Thursday, June 5, 2008

Treat Depression by Growing New Brain Cells

The Booster Shots blog at the Los Angeles Times reports that a company called BrainCells, Inc., has begun phase two testing of a compound to treat depression and anxiety. Nothing new so far, but BrainCells plans to treat these diseases by promoting neurogenesis—the growth of new neurons—in the brain.

Company co-founder Fred Gage rocked the scientific world about ten years ago with a paper showing that adult brain cells could regenerate over time. While those findings are fully accepted these days, some researchers are skeptical that neurogenesis will work as a treatment for depression. Whether it works for depression or not, this is a valuable area of research that could be use to treat a number of brain and nervous-system conditions.

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