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Rethinking serotonin could lead to a shift in psychiatric care

A better understanding of how a key chemical messenger acts in the brain could lead to a radical shift in psychiatric care, according to a new research paper.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps brain cells communicate with one another, playing important roles in stabilising mood and regulating stress.

Despite its importance, current models to explain serotonin’s function in the brain remain incomplete.

Now, in a review paper published this month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers from Imperial College London suggest that serotonin pathways are more nuanced than previously thought.

They argue that the existing view should be updated to incorporate a ‘two-pronged’ model of how serotonin acts.