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Depression linked to low levels of amino acid

Raghu Kshitiz



Depression linked to low levels of amino acid. Representationla image

KATHMANDU — Reduced levels of an amino acid found in blood samples have been linked to major depressive disorder, according to a new study at the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital.

People suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) have reduced arginine levels, which is an amino acid, the body uses to produce, such as nitric oxide.

Researchers studied 99 adults aged 20-71 with diagnosed MDD and 253 non-depressed control adults in a report published Wednesday in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Nitric oxide, in turn, is a nervous system and immune defence mediator, and it also plays a role in vascular regulation. The global arginine bioavailability ratio (GABR) is an indicator of the body’s arginine levels, and the ratio has previously been used to measure the body’s capacity to produce nitric oxide.

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The body uses the amino acid arginine to produce nitric oxide, which is a mediator for the nervous system and immune defender, and plays a role in vascular regulation. Reduced arginine bioavailability is also known to be an independent risk factor of cardiovascular diseases.

“It is possible that depression-induced inflammatory responses lead to reduced arginine levels,” doctoral student Toni Ali-Sisto, the lead author of the study, said in a release.

“This may result in insufficient production of nitric oxide for the needs of the nervous system and circulation. However, we don’t know yet what exactly causes reduced arginine bioavailability in people with depression.”

Researchers analyzed three amino acids — arginine, citrulline and ornithine — from participants’ fasting glucose samples. In addition, symmetric and asymmetric dimethylarginine concentrations were also measured from the serum. This data was used to calculate their global arginine bioavailability ratio.

No significant differences were found in the symmetric and asymmetric dimethylarginine concentrations between the two groups.

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“Although our study shows that people with depression have reduced arginine bioavailability, this doesn’t mean that taking an arginine supplement would protect against depression. That’s an area for further research,” Ali-Sisto says.

And there were no significant differences between people who remained depressed and those who had recovered.

With Agency Inputs

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Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk

IANS Indo Asian News Service




Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk. Representational Image

NEW YORK — People who are suffering from urinary or respiratory tract infections may face nearly double the risk of heart attacks and strokes than obesity, researchers have warned.

The study — led by a researcher of Indian origin — found that if the frequency of these common infections causing hospitalisation continues for a longer period it may even lead to death.

Patients diagnosed with any one of these common infections were three times more likely to die than those without prior infection after developing heart disease, and almost twice as likely to die if they had a stroke.

“Our figures suggest that those who are admitted to hospital with a respiratory or urinary tract infection are 40 per cent more likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, and 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke, than patients who have had no such infection, and are considerably less likely to survive from these conditions,” Rahul Potluri, researcher at Britain’s Aston University, said in a statement.

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The effects of the common infections were of similar magnitude among the people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol, researchers said.

“It is notable that infection appears to confer as much, if not more, of a risk for future heart disease and stroke as very well established risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” Potluri added.

Researchers conducted the study over 34,027 patients who had been admitted with a urinary or respiratory tract infection with an age and sex-matched control group without infection.

Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, obesity and tobacco use, as well as medical conditions including excess cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation were also taken into account.

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