Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Can probiotics help fight depression?

First ever New Zealand trial to see if probiotics can help fight depression

July 20, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) PhD student is carrying out the first trial in New Zealand to see if probiotics, friendly bacteria which are naturally found in the gut, can help fight depression.

A 2011 report on international rates of mental health showed that, out of 10 high income countries studied, New Zealand had the second highest number of people who had experienced a major depressive episode in the previous year.

``One in six New Zealanders will experience serious depression at some time in their life. About one in seven young people in New Zealand will experience a major depressive episode before the age of 24,’’ UC PhD researcher Amy Romijn says.

``Women have higher rates of depression than men. One in five women, compared with one in eight men, will have depression over their lifetime. The World Health Organisation estimates that by the year 2020, depression will be the second most common cause of ill health and premature death worldwide.

``Despite their widespread use, many people find that antidepressant medications are not effective, or that the benefits wane over time. Others cannot tolerate the side effects, highlighting that other avenues of treatment are urgently needed for this debilitating condition.

``Recent studies on the gut-brain axis, a two-way pathway by which the gut and brain communicate, have indicated that chronic low-grade inflammation of the gut may be involved in the development of depression.

``It is even feasible that, in some cases, depression may be caused by chronic inflammation. Taking probiotics has been shown to reduce levels of inflammation, which gives us an opportunity to test the new gut-brain axis theory of depression in a clinical trial.

``We are carrying out the first trial on people using probiotics to treat a specifically depressed population. A total of 80 people with symptoms of depression will be tested over 16 weeks to see whether the probiotics can help with their symptoms.

``We will also try to find out how the probiotics have an effect by measuring certain chemicals in the blood which are related to both inflammation and depression.’’

The UC research, supervised by Associate Professor Julia Rucklidge, seeks to find out if and how probiotics can help depression. People who feel depressed, but are not taking antidepressants, and are interested in taking part in the study can be screened here: www.mentalhealthandnutrition.co.nz.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Housing: Affordability Drops 14%, Driven By Auckland Prices

Housing affordability across New Zealand fell 14 percent in the year ending November 2014, with Auckland’s lack of affordability set to reach levels it hit during the height of the global financial crisis, according to the latest Massey University Home Affordability Report More>>

ALSO:

The Dry: Fonterra Drops Forecast Milk Volumes By 3.3 Percent

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the worlds largest dairy exporter, reduced its milk volume forecast for the 2014-2015 season by 3.3 per cent due to the impact of dry weather on production in recent weeks. More>>

ALSO:

Strike: Lyttelton Port Workers Vote To Escalate Dispute

Members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) at Lyttelton Port today voted to escalate their industrial action. Around 200 RMTU members have been operating an overtime ban since 17 December and today they endorsed a series of full withdrawals of labour at the port. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Falls To 3-Year Low As Investors Favour Greenback

The New Zealand dollar fell to its lowest in more than three years as investors sold euro and bought US dollars, weakening other currencies against the greenback. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Govt Operating Deficit Smaller Than Expected

The New Zealand’s government’s operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first five months of the financial year as a clampdown on expenditure managed to offset a shortfall in the tax-take from last month’s forecast. More>>

ALSO:

0.8 Percent Annually:
NZ Inflation Falls Below RBNZ's Target

New Zealand's annual pace of inflation slowed to below the Reserve Bank's target band in the final three months of the year, giving governor Graeme Wheeler more room to keep the benchmark interest rate lower for longer.More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news