Sarah Zabel

Fighting Chance

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A depressed patient rides his bicycle through the night, returning the next day without his depression. Researchers testing a new anti-tuberculosis drug note that their test subjects — though dying — are inexplicably happy. A PhD student investigating the source of noise in an imaging signal realizes he is seeing a high-level organization of brain function…
Fighting Chance: How Unexpected Observations and Unintended Outcomes Shape the Science and Treatment of Depression takes the reader inside the circuitous search for the causes and cures for depression, the leading cause of ill health and disability world-wide. A surprisingly human tale of failed experiments and unanticipated victories, Fighting Chance reveals many of the people and experiences behind the modern approach to understanding and treating depression. The story begins with the serendipitous discovery of antidepressant medications, an unexpected advance that encouraged psychiatrists to reconceive major depression as an illness rather than an emotional state. The discoveries pile on, showing depression's relationship with stress, inflammation, circadian rhythms, and more. As scientists work to make sense of these observations and advance the biology of depression, they are also learning about vulnerability and resistance, and the process of recovery.
From its underpinnings in cellular neuroscience to current research efforts, Fighting Chance is a scientific journey inside depression. Incorporating the voices of researchers making fundamental discoveries about depression, physicians fighting to bring the most advanced treatment options to their patients, and ordinary people struggling for relief from their illness, Fighting Chance is a compelling tale of hope, resilience, and ingenuity.
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578 printed pages
Original publication



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