Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Hope Monkeys Can Provide New Insights Into Depression

Date:
January 25, 2005
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
Monkeys get depressed, too, and scientists hope that studying them could lead to better treatments for depressed people. Researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center will report new findings about patterns of depression in monkeys in the April issue of the Journal of Biological Psychology. The article is now available on-line.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Monkeys get depressed, too, and scientists hope that studying them could lead to better treatments for depressed people. Researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center will report new findings about patterns of depression in monkeys in the April issue of the Journal of Biological Psychology. The article is now available on-line.

The scientists found that depressed female monkeys become socially withdrawn and have reduced body fat, low levels of activity, high heart rates and disruptions in hormone levels – all of which are known or suspected characteristics of major depression in women. Their research is based on female monkeys because women are 66 percent more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetimes.

“We believe these monkeys can be a useful model for learning more about depression in women,” said Carol Shively, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Wake Forest Baptist. “Current ways to treat depression are only partially successful. This may be an important opportunity to develop and test new treatments.”

She said that with current treatments, there’s often a difference between men and women in effectiveness and side effects. The animal model will allow scientists to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment specifically in females, the population at greatest risk.

The study involved 36 adult female cynomolgus monkeys, who normally live in social groups in the wild. For most of the research, the animals lived in groups of four and their social interactions and behavior were observed. Depressive behavior included a slumped or collapsed body posture accompanied by a lack of response to events or objects in the environment in which other monkeys were interested.

The researchers found that the depressed monkeys had suppressed ovarian function, but continued to have menstrual periods. Irregular ovulation can lead to low estrogen levels, which have been associated in both women and monkeys with increased risk of disease in the arteries leading to the heart.

“This suggests the possibility that depressed women may have low ovarian function that goes unnoticed because they still have menstrual periods,” said Shively. “If this turns out to be accurate, it could explain, in part, the observed relationship between coronary artery disease and depression.”

The researchers said monkeys may be particularly useful for learning more about human depression for several reasons. In women, depression is often associated with changes in reproduction, including the beginning of menstruation (premenstrual syndrome or PMS), pregnancy, the post-partum period and perimenopause. Monkeys have menstrual cycles that are very similar to those of women.

“Further studies of monkeys may inform us about the nature of the relationship between reproductive function and mood in females,” said Shively.

In addition, depression is higher among people with low levels of education and income. Some female monkeys face social stress that is similar to the stress that humans with low socioeconomic status experience. In some cases, these monkeys were also more prone to depression.

“What we’ve observed in these monkeys is the first animal model of social stress-related depression in females,” said Shively.

In monkeys, the social stress comes from the social hierarchies they naturally form when they live in groups. Monkeys that are the low-status or “subordinate” animals in the group face more aggression, are more vigilant, spend less time being groomed – a friendly behavior by monkey standards – and spend more time alone. Previous research has shown that they have increased heart rates, more of the stress hormone cortisol and more cardiovascular disease than dominant monkeys.

Depressive disorders affect about 19 million Americans yearly. The lifetime prevalence rate of major depression in women is 21 percent, compared to 12.7 percent for men. Depression in women can have negative effects on children as well as marriage. In addition, women who develop depression before age 18 are less likely to obtain a college or graduate degree, reducing their future earning potential.

Other researchers involved in the project were Thomas Register, Ph.D., David Friedman, Ph.D., Timothy Morgan, Ph.D., Jalonda Thompson and Tasha Lanier, all from Wake Forest Baptist.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Researchers Hope Monkeys Can Provide New Insights Into Depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050123205837.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2005, January 25). Researchers Hope Monkeys Can Provide New Insights Into Depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050123205837.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Researchers Hope Monkeys Can Provide New Insights Into Depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050123205837.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) — An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins