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Why Your Antidepressants Don’t Kick In Immediately

By | All About Science | No Comments

headache-pain-pills-medication-159211The most commonly prescribed antidepressants are Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Skeptics argue that because it takes four to six weeks for these antidepressants to kick in, they don’t really work or that if they do, it’s not because the patient has low levels of serotonin in the brain.

Let’s start with a little background. Serotonin has multiple functions in the brain, one of which is keeping us calm and content.  It is a neurotransmitter that works most effectively when it is outside of the brain’s neurons; although it doesn’t do anything good or bad if it is inside the brain’s cells. SSRIs work by blocking the serotonin transporter which results in more serotonin being outside of the neurons where it can do it’s job.

If there is too little serotonin active outside the brain’s cells, we become nervous, unhappy, or unable to feel any pleasure. By blocking the the transporter that inactivates serotonin, SSRIs can restore the brain’s active levels of serotonin returning us to a calm and content state. Skeptics of SSRI efficacy will return to the concept that the delayed effect means they don’t really work.

It is rather interesting that SSRIs don’t work after taking just one pill, especially considering that SSRIs are not the only drugs that block the serotonin transporter. Street drugs like cocaine and ecstasy also reportedly block the serotonin transporter. But it obviously does not take four to six weeks for cocaine and ecstasy to take effect.

Rather than assuming that the medication is not working, let’s consider an analogy. If you were to go to a dietitian to set up a meal plan to help you lose weight. You and your dietitian come up with a good plan that is likely to work. However, your refrigerator and kitchen are stocked with the items you already eat. Rather than wasting the food you’ve already purchased, you consume it and slowly begin restocking your kitchen with healthier items. Because of this transition time, your weight remains stable but about a month after you’ve begun, you start to lose weight. This is the time when the old foods in your kitchen have been replaced with healthier options.

More recent research suggests an analogous explanation of why SSRIs don’t kick in right away. The reason suggested is that SSRIs don’t target the serotonin transmitter directly. Although some SSRIs (like Lexapro) bind directly to the transporter, the direct binding is not the underlying mechanism of action. Instead antidepressants target our DNA, in particular the genes that code for the serotonin transporter. They make these genes less active causing there to be less transporter molecules available in the brain. This, the new research argues, explains the delayed action of antidepressants. As our brains already have plenty of transporter molecules when we begin taking antidepressants, it takes awhile for the suppression of genes coding for the transporter take effect in the brain.

When we start taking the medication, our brain is like the refrigerator, full of old food choices. It takes a few weeks to get through the old food and begin replacing it with healthier alternatives that can ultimately stabilize us and make use function normally.

eMindLog™ is a tool that you and your provider can utilize to monitor and track the effectiveness of medication. It can also be used to create a baseline for starting treatment. To learn more and see how it works, create your free account.


This article was originally posted on The Superhuman Mind by Berit Brogaard D.M.Sci., Ph.D.


6 Reasons Why Having a Pet is Good for Your Health

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little-girl-with-puppy                                     hide-and-seek-kitten

We do so much for our pets. We wake up in the middle of the night to take them out, we organize our schedules around them, and let’s be honest, they are a great distraction and so much fun to be around. But the great thing about our pets is they they also do so much for us in return. If you don’t already have one, or you just want a good reminder of why you love yours, here are 6 reasons why having a pet is good for your health:

  1. Walking Your Pet

Dog walking is an excellent preventative measure against heart disease. It’s a low-risk and low-intensity exercise, helping to slim your waistline while you soak up some vitamin D. To reduce the risk of heart disease, a minimum of 150 minutes of walk per week is recommended – that’s roughly 22 minutes a day.

2. Pet Your Animal

The act of petting can relax a reduce stress levels due to the body’s release of oxytocin, a hormone linked to emotional bonding. The owner and pet release oxytocin, which stabilizes a sense of calmness between the two.

“The simple act of petting an animal is known to cause a person’s blood pressure to drop.”  – Alan Beck, ScD., Director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University

3. Companionship

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pet ownership among single people has increased by 17% in the last 6 years. Pets provide companionship to individuals who live by themselves; the study suggests that singles are more likely to see their pets as family members because of the amount of support their companionship provides.

4. Socialization

Pet owners often have the urge to socialize with other pet owners. Studies have shown that it is easier to meet people if you have a dog. These animals are often seen (and used) as social icebreakers that used as a prop, stir up conversation with others.dogs-at-the-beach

5. Boost Mood

Pet ownership can boost self-esteem and self-worth. According to the British Medical Journal, playing with your pet can raise levels of serotonin dopamine and decrease cortisol. The elderly are shown to reap the benefits of pet ownership. In a survey of Elderly Pet Owners Regarding the Benefits of their Pets:

95% said they talk to their pet each day

82% said owning a pet made them feel better when they were sad

65% said petting or caressing their pet made them feel better

57% said they told their fears and worries to their pet

6. Increase Longevity

People with pets live a happier, healthier, and longer life. Researchers found that patients discharged from a coronary care unit and who had pets at home, had a better survival rate for the next year compared to those who did not. For patients, the thought of having a pet provided, which, results show, could be associated with higher life expectancy.

If you already have a pet, go out and play with it – you’ll reap the benefits in the long run. If you don’t have a pet, volunteering at your local humane society allows you to reao the benefits of having a pet without the resonsibilities and it does some good in your community.


See more at Medical Daily


Depression Can Break Your Heart

By | All About Science | No Comments


3D Illustration of heart attackDid you know that depression is now considered to be an important risk factor for heart disease along with high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure?

1 in 20 American adults experience major depression in a given year but the ratio changes to 1 in 3 for people who have survived a heart attack.

A study conducted in Baltimore, MD found that of 1,551 people who were free of heart disease, those who had a history of depression were 4 times more likely than those who did not to suffer a heart attack in the next 14 years. In addition, researchers in Montreal, Canada found that heart patients who were depressed were 4 times as likely to die in the next 6 months as those who were not depressed.

The combined and separate public health impact of depression and heart disease is staggering. Depression is the estimated leading cause of disability worldwide, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States by a large margin – approximately 1 in 3 Americans will die of some form of heart disease.

To learn more about the link between heart disease and depression visit

To learn more and sign up for updates on how eMindLog can help click here



What’s the ROI of Treatment for Depression and Anxiety?

By | All About Science, Science Meets Tech | No Comments

enterpriseAs companies look more and more at additional benefits that can be provided to employees that also benefit the company, mental health continues to rise in these conversations. The World Health Organization took a look at the ROI of investing in mental health care for employees.

Every $1 USD invested in scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of $4 USD in better health and ability to work, according to a new WHO-led study which estimates, for the first time, both the health and economic benefits of investing in treatment of the most common forms of mental illness globally.

These are some quick facts about the state of depression and anxiety in the world today:

  • Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people experiencing depression and/or anxiety increased  nearly 50% from 416 million to 615 million
  • Close to 10% of the world’s population are affected
  • Mental disorders account for 30% of the global non-fatal disease burden
  • The WHO estimates that, during emergencies, as many as 1 in 5 people are affected by depression and anxiety

A new study conducted by the WHO calculated the treatment costs and health outcomes in 36 low-, middle-, and high-income countries from 2016-2030. The estimated cost to scaling up treatment, primarily in psychosocial counseling and antidepressant medication, equaled $147 billion USD. You’re probably thinking that is a really high number. However, a 5% increase in labor force participation and productivity is valued at $399 billion USD and improved health adds another $310 billion USD in returns.

If it improves employee quality of life and the return is that high, why not invest in making treatment available?


To read the entirety of the update from the WHO, visit their website.

The published study findings can be found in The Lancet Psychiatry here.


A New Tool for Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

By | Get to Know Us | No Comments

Everyone either experiences or knows someone who experiences stress, anxiety, or depression. It is a constant of everyday life. In fact, in 2013, the National Institutes for Health stated that among adults in the United States:

  • 18% had an anxiety disorder
  • 9% were diagnosed with a mood disorder
  • 20% of US adults experienced high or extreme stress

Stress doesn’t just have a personal impact; it also has an economic impact. Depression costs employers over $44 billion annually in lost productivity, 81% due to poorer on-the-job performance. The cost of depression to employers in lost work days is as great or greater than the cost of many other common medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, or back problems.

screens-emindYou probably already track data around your physical health, like steps, heart-rate, sleep, and calories. Why not track your mental state? Tracking your physical health allows you to pinpoint problem areas and rectify them. Tracking your mental health can do the same.

What if, by tracking your baseline mental state every day, by logging into eMindLog™, you could also pinpoint the areas of your life that are the most turbulent? Totmind and brainal mind-body health knowledge can help put your life and your body in balance.  Sleep, can be affected by stress or anxiety, which can in turn affect your energy levels and your ability to get through the day. If you could review all of that information, wouldn’t you want to take advantage of it?

eMindLog™ will enable you to self-measure your daily and weekly levels of stress, anxiety, and depression based on knowledge from the neurosciences and expertise in psychology. eMindScience™ is an ecosystem that connects the minds of users, patients and healthcare providers.

To learn more about the full ecosystem of eMind Science™, check out the rest of our site where you can sign up for updates.