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(Times of San Diego) January 12, 2021 Researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine found that certain metabolites — small molecules produced by the process of metabolism — may be predictive indicators for people at risk for clinical depression, it was announced Tuesday. “This is evidence for a mitochondrial nexus at the heart of depression,” said senior author Dr. Robert Naviaux, a professor of medicine, pediatrics and pathology at the UCSD School of Medicine. “It’s a small study, but it is the first to show the potential of using metabolic markers as predictive clinical indicators of patients at greatest risk — and lower risk — for recurring bouts of major depressive symptoms.” The findings of the UCSD researchers, who worked in collaboration with Dutch scientists, were published in the online issue of Translational Psychiatry. Clinical depression — formally known as recurrent major depressive disorder — is a mood disorder characterized by multiple symptoms such as feelings of sadness or hopelessness, anger or frustration, loss of interest, sleep disturbances, anxiety, slowed or difficulty thinking, suicidal thoughts and unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches. Major depressive disorder is among the most common mental illnesses in the United States, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of 20.6%, meaning one in five Americans will suffer at least one episode during their lives. For patients who have recurrent MDD, the five-year recurrence risk is up to 80%. For the study, Naviaux and colleagues in the Netherlands recruited 68 subjects — […]