The hormonal keys to depression

Nature, 24 August 2022:

When Torbjörn Bäckström was a medical student in the 1970s, he didn’t understand why a woman who seemed to be in good mental health was being held at a psychiatric facility.

Then, Bäckström and his colleagues learnt that once a month, the woman would be admitted because she had been violent and attacked people. “This was becoming a sort of pattern, that when we came there after she had been taken in by force, she did not understand what had happened and why it had happened,” recalls Bäckström, who is now an endocrinologist and emeritus professor at Umeå University in Sweden.

Two details caught Bäckström’s attention. One was that her violent episodes seemed to coincide with menstruation. The second was a paragraph in a physiology textbook that mentioned premenstrual syndrome and the effects of hormones on the brain. Read more.

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