Researchers have made new discoveries about how the brain functions during depression that could lead to radical new therapies. A study at the Karolinska Institute found that lower levels of functionality in the brains support cells are to blame for poor plasticity in depressive patients. Using rats it was found that D-serine, a chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter and a gliotransmitter, could improve memory function in depressed brains. The discovery was made when Dr Mia Lindskog began to investigate the memory and apathy capability of depressed rats. When given D-serine the memory of rats improved, as did their overall brain activity and plasticity. However, the chemical did not affect the apathy function. Dr Lindskog stated: "We have shown that there are two symptoms here that can be influenced independently of one another, which means they could be treated in tandem in patients with depression." This could lead to radical new therapies and drug targets to improve the symptoms of depression. Read about support and personalised care at Barchester care homes for anyone with mental health concerns.