A recent study by UOW researchers for better treatments shows additional evidence of biological differences when it comes to psychiatric disorders.

The study is published on Neuropsychopharmacology and it discusses the role of gender in factors and risks of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

The study’s lead author and associate researcher at UOW Samara Brown said patients should be looked at individually and gender differences may need different treatment.

“Currently, doctors need to consider how the treatments we use may be best suited to some but not all individuals with depression and that this could somewhat be driven by sex differences,” Dr Brown said.

The research by Dr Brown and other UOW fellows shows that the brains of females and males with MDD have different amounts of kynurenic acid (KYNA) which can be a problem.

Dr Brown said this study helped us to understand how to approach different cases and target the brain effectively.

“This research puts us one step closer to unravelling the biology underlying depression,” she said.

“By understanding how the brain is altered in depression we can hopefully target the brain more effectively.”

A part of the research was focused on how worldwide suicides are related to psychiatric disorders, with MDD being one of the most relevant risk factors. The research provides evidence of sex-specific differences in MDD and discussions about the future novel treatment in MDD.

Dr Brown said this research will help doctors look at cases from a different perspective and help with the development of future drug treatments.

“It shows that we need to consider biological differences in things such as sex when designing future drug treatments as some treatments may be better suited to females for example,” she said.

“Our study has shown the kynurenine pathway to be effected to a greater degree in females with depression. From a treatment context this could mean this pathway may be an option for females but not males.”

The study was conducted through three years of research and it includes methods, results and discussions of their findings.