Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Taste Test May Identify Best Drugs For Depression

Date:
December 6, 2006
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
New research has shown that it might be possible to use taste as an indicator as to whether someone is depressed, and as a way of determining which is the most suitable drug to treat their depression. Different antidepressants work better in some people than others.

New research has shown that it might be possible to use taste as an indicator as to whether someone is depressed, and as a way of determining which is the most suitable drug to treat their depression.

Related Articles


Research from the University of Bristol has shown that our ability to recognise certain tastes can be improved by administering drugs usually given for depression.

The researchers gave healthy volunteers antidepressant drugs that increase levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline. They report today in the Journal of Neuroscience that these tests resulted in the volunteers being able to detect different tastes (salt, sugar, sour, and bitter) at lower concentrations, thus enhancing their ability to taste.

Dr Lucy Donaldson, senior author on the paper, said: "When we increased serotonin levels we found that people could recognise sweet and bitter taste at much lower concentrations than when their serotonin levels were normal. With increased noradrenaline levels the same people could recognise bitter and sour tastes at lower concentrations. Salt taste doesn't seem to be affected at all by altering either of these neurotransmitters."

She added: "Because we have found that different tastes change in response to changes in the two different neurotransmitters, we hope that using a taste test in depressed people will tell us which neurotransmitter is affected in their illness."

Dr Jan Melichar, the lead psychiatrist on the paper, added: "This is very exciting. Until now we have had no easy way of deciding which is the best medication for depression. As a result, we get it right about 60-80% of the time. It then takes up to four weeks to see if the drug is working, or if we need to change it. However, with a taste test, we may be able to get it right first time."

Taste is often thought to be determined genetically and, until now, people assumed it was fixed throughout life. But these studies show that the ability to recognise different tastes can be altered by the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline and by people's mood.

In the study, three drugs were given to the volunteers: SSRI (serotonin specific reuptake inhibitor) to raise serotonin levels; NARI (noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor) to raise noradrenaline levels (another neurotransmitter important in depression, and also found in taste buds); and an inactive placebo.

The volunteers were first tested for their ability to recognise certain tastes. The drug was then administered and two hours afterwards they were asked to take the same test again.

The volunteers were also assessed for anxiety levels, their overall level of anxiety being related to their ability to taste -- the more anxious a person was, the less sensitive to bitter and salt taste they were.

These results give an important insight into how neurotransmitters affect the taste system. It seems that tasting bitter things can be changed by changes in both serotonin and noradrenaline levels, that sweet taste is affected by only serotonin levels, and that sour taste is affected by noradrenaline.

These findings may also explain why anxious and depressed individuals have diminished appetite. The results also show that taste is related to anxiety levels, even in generally well people.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Taste Test May Identify Best Drugs For Depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061206093648.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2006, December 6). Taste Test May Identify Best Drugs For Depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061206093648.htm
University of Bristol. "Taste Test May Identify Best Drugs For Depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061206093648.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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