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Review that questioned serotonin theory of depression was flawed, say researchers

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p1419 (Published 20 June 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p1419
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Kent

A group of scientists have said a review which concluded there was no consistent evidence of a relationship between serotonin and depression was biased and seriously flawed.1

Last July a systematic umbrella review, published in Molecular Psychiatry, concluded “there is no convincing evidence that depression is associated with or caused by lower serotonin concentrations or activity” and questioned the reasons behind high prescribing rates of antidepressants.23

Writing in the same journal, 36 researchers have criticised the paper saying there were methodological weaknesses in the review process, selective reporting of data, oversimplification, and errors in the interpretation of neuropsychopharmacological findings.

Lead author of the comment piece, Sameer Jauhar, senior clinical lecturer in affective disorders and psychosis at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, said the authors “presented no new analyses of the data, used their own criteria for assessing research quality, interpreted findings differently from the …

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