I Haz a Sad: Media's Coverage of Depression 'Misery Molecule' Is Somewhat InaccurateJoslyn Gray
“Scientists have found the brain’s most miserable molecule” proclaims London’s The Sunday Times.
Well, sort of. More accurately, scientists at UK drug development company Heptares Therapeutics have used incredibly powerful x-ray imaging technology to more closely examine a hormone receptor. Until now, scientists had a poor understanding of the molecular structure of the receptor for a hormone called corticotrophin-releasing factor type 1 (CRF1).
CRF1 is thought influence how we respond to stress, explains Britain’s governmental health agency NHS, making it a good target for treatment of depression and anxiety. However, it’s hard to design drugs to treat a molecule that you don’t fully understand. Now that scientists know how CRF1 is structured, “researchers may be better able to create potential drug therapies blocking the effects of CRF1,” says the NHS.
But this is all sort of…potential.
“This research may be of value on informing future drug development, but this research is in its very early stages,” clarifies the NHS. “A drug to block the effects of the so-called ‘misery molecule’ is unlikely to be available anytime soon.”
I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for a long, long time. My depression has, at times, been debilitating. More often, it is just there, lurking, waiting to come back any time there is just too much stress in my life. I have been on medication for more than two decades, and I am grateful for it.
So let’s take a look at how this story played out, and how I reacted, using GIFs.
Here’s the Sunday Times headline: Oh Joy, Misery Molecule Found.
Here’s me reading the article:
Here’s The Independent’s headline: Scientists Discover the Molecule Responsible for Causing Feelings of Depression.
Here’s the MSN headline: Scientists ID The Little Bastard Molecule That Causes Depression.
Here’s Jezebel’s headline: Scientists Figure Out the Thing Responsible for Depression.
Aaaand here’s the NHS’s headline: Media’s Talk of a ‘Misery Molecule’ Is Misleading.
Aaaand here’s me:
And then here’s the actual press release from Heptares, the drug research company: Heptares Announces Publication in Nature of Class B GPCR Structure, in which the company is really excited about being published in Nature but mostly excited that their awesome new super-powerful x-ray technology worked.
“In demonstrating that our StaR®methodology can now be applied across both Class A and B GPCRs to enable structure determination, we have greatly enhanced our ability to carry out structure-based drug discovery,” said Fiona Marshall, Chief Scientific Officer at Heptares.
And then here’s me: