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Studies for Huntington’s & depression

Researchers at EARA member the University of Helsinki, Finland, have used studies in mice to gain insights into brain disease and depression.

Helsinki researchers found that the protein cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) could improve motor co-ordination when injected into the brains of mice that had features similar to Huntington’s disease, a condition that results in damage to brain neurons.

Researchers at Helsinki have also previously shown that CDNF could protect mice against Parkinson’s disease, and the protein is now being investigated as a treatment in clinical trials.

Meanwhile, another Helsinki team has identified how two psychedelic drugs – LSD and psilocin – can reduce the symptoms of depression, by studying their effect on cells in the lab, as well as mice exposed to stress.

The researchers showed that there are in fact different mechanisms by which these drugs cause antidepressant effects and hallucinogenic effects.

Eero Castrén, at Helsinki, said: “These findings can help in the development of novel compounds that could in the future be used to treat depression in humans without causing the hallucinations typical of psychedelics.”

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