The discovery of antidepressant drugs led to the first biochemical hypothesis of depression, known as the monoamine hypothesis. However, this hypothesis does not seem to fully explain the complexity of human depression. Now a new study offers one more important key that may increase our understanding of the pathogenesis behind clinical depression and neurodegenerative disorders.
For the first time, doctors have opened and closed the brain’s protector – the blood-brain barrier – on demand. The breakthrough will allow drugs to reach diseased areas of the brain that are otherwise out of bounds. Ultimately, it could make it easier to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s and brain cancer.
An MRI scan showed that a marker chemical, injected along with the microbubbles, was crossing the BBB. “We hope this means the chemotherapy drug is doing the same thing,” says Canney, who presented his observations last week at the Focused Ultrasound symposium in North Bethesda, Maryland.