U researchers studying women, depression, and altitude

Apr 1, 2019, 11:15 AM
University of Utah...
FILE PHOTO: Campus of the University of Utah. (Jordan Allred/Deseret News)
(Jordan Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Researchers are trying to find better ways to treat women in Utah for depression, because of the challenges of the high altitude here.

Utah’s altitude means that those of us who call the state home means that we live with less oxygen. Utah is the third highest state in terms of its average elevation that comes in at 6,700 ft. That’s more than 1,400 ft higher than a mile, and with that elevation comes a change in brain chemistry that can affect women more than it does men.

Researchers at the University of Utah say that the high altitudes in Utah can make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse and make anti-depressants less effective as well.

This issue is being studied more as more women in Utah died by suicide in 2018 than they did in 2016 where researchers would like to find better medication or treatment methods to help women in Utah specifically.

Author Jane Clayson Johnson told Amanda Dickson on this week’s A Woman’s View about the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety:

“Depression is not the result of some sort of personal inadequacy. It’s not a black mark on your character,” she said.

Women already have lower levels of serotonin in their brains than men, meaning the impact of living in states like Utah might be more detrimental for women.

You can read more in the Deseret News here.

Amanda Dickson’s interview with Jane Clayson Johnson is available to listen free on the podcast version of A Woman’s View. Subscribe wherever you find podcasts or on the KSL Newsradio app for iPhone and Android devices.

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U researchers studying women, depression, and altitude