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Serotonin and Depression

dag.stenberg at helsinki.nospam.fi dag.stenberg at helsinki.nospam.fi
Tue Oct 13 04:13:11 EST 1998

kkollins at pop3.concentric.net wrote:
> The community of researchers has missed one thing: what's referred to as
> "depression" is not, per se, "pathological". Rather it's an
> evolutionarily-engineered-in, and absolutely-necessary, mechanism that becomes
> activated when a person "blunders" a bit, and has the effect of quieting
> behavior so that the person will not be experienced by others as a source of
> "agitation"... which would lead to "escalating" group-behavioral conflict,
> injury or death.

Could be, but then we are left with only two outcomes: spontaneous
healing or suicide. I believe we can attempt to help those persons in
some other ways too, using modern biological knowledge.

> We =need= "depression", and the modern trend that takes the stand, that it
> should be engineered-out of the nervous system, has more to do with the
> profit-seeking of the pharmaceutacal companies than science or the welfare of
> humanity.

For anybody who has never suffered from major depression or seen that in
their immediate surrounding, it is easy to think like that.

> But in the nervous system, everything is redundantly-engineered, and
> the "components" are organized in relatively-failsafe ways. This doesn't mean
> that any particular neurotransmitter is "unimportant". It just means that there
> are [reiterating what someone else has already said in this thread] many factors
> which determine the contribution of any neurotransmitter. And the only way to
> get a handle on such is to work with the system as a whole. 

I disagree. It impossible to design an experiment if you let all
parameters vary at the same time. This can point to correlational
evidence, and to important factors, but it can not elucidate what part a
single factor has in the regulation of the whole. 

Dag Stenberg

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