NPR Features Scientific Council Members on Depression, its Biological Causes and the Out-of-Date Term “Chemical Imbalance”

Joseph Coyle, MD of Harvard Medical School
Joseph Coyle, MD

NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ featured two Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council Members on the topic of depression, neuroscience and Prozac as ‘a blockbuster’. The term “chemical imbalance” has referred to a deficiency in serotonin associated with depression and commonly thought to be ‘the cause’ of depression.

Acknowledging that depression does have biological causes, but that they’re not fully understood yet, Dr. Joseph Coyle, Scientific Council Member and professor of neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, says, "Chemical imbalance is sort of last-century thinking. It's much more complicated than that." And Alan Frazer, PhD, Scientific Council Member and professor of pharmacology at University of Texas Health Science Center said: "I don't think there's any convincing body of data that anybody has ever found that depression is associated to a significant extent with a loss of serotonin."

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