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Researchers hope studying cells that work in opposite way as dopamine can help those with depression

August 05, 2019 - 4:38 pm

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. ​

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Have you ever participated in a sporting event where you feel that you just can't push on anymore and you give up? 

Just what happens in the brain when we give up? 

According to an article in the journal CELL, there is a part of the brain known as the ventral tegmental area. In this part of the brain, there are cells called neurons that release a chemical called dopamine, which is normally associated with pleasurable events. 

Researchers wondered about cells that work in the opposite way as dopamine, essentially demotivation or frustration neurons. 

It turns out they exist and for people who suffer from depression, the ability to turn off the cells may actually improve a person's mood. 

We don't know much about these cells yet, but there is hope that the more we know the more we might be able to help those with depression.