Why Prozac Is Still a Mystery

A recently-tested anti-depressed, which looked very good on paper, has failed to reduce depression rates. Our understanding of the brain still doesn't suffice to make good drugs.

What's the Latest Development?

The pharmaceutical industry's newest attempt to fight depression, a drug from Glaxo named GSK372475, has failed to outperform a placebo. GSK372475 was intended to block the breakdown of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine, three brain chemicals associated with happiness and depression. The drug's failure is an example of how difficult it is to change the brain in predictable ways which benefit our health. Major pharmaceutical companies, frustrated by failure, are cutting their neuroscience research budgets.

What's the Big Idea?

It is difficult to overstate how much our scientific understanding of the brain has progressed in the last decade. Still, limits have frustrated our best attempts to develop drugs to improve the quality of our mental life. In fact, we do not even understand how drugs like Prozac work. Clinical trials have shown it outperforms a placebo in reducing rates of depression but, in a sense, we stumbled onto the solution. We got lucky. Despite our fervor for neuroscience and medical solutions, we may have to admit that we are still fumbling in the dark.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Why 'upgrading' humanity is a transhumanist myth

Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.

  • Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
  • Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
  • Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
Keep reading Show less