Episode 044: Emily Deans MD, The Future of Psychiatry and How Your Genes (And Their Regulation and Expression) Influence Your Mental Health
In Episode 044 of A Medicinal Mind, Wisdom and Wellbeing, I welcome evolutionary psychiatrist and a pioneer studying the genetic underpinnings of mental health, Dr. Emily Deans MD.
Since first discovering the ancestral and functional medicine movements, I have been an avid follower of Emily Deans and her curious, yet practical explorations into our evolving understanding of psychiatric illness.
Dr. Deans is a practicing psychiatrist who utilizes an ancestrally informed nutritional approach as well as targeted pharmaceutical interventions to improve those with previously treatment refractory depression.
She is a regular contributor at Psychology Today with her blog: Evolutionary Psychiatry where she explores the role of nutrition and genetic variability, amongst many other topics, and their impact on mental well being.
In this episode Dr. Deans starts us off with a little background into his first experiences in medicine and her choice to pursue psychiatry, detailing her own life journey that lead her to explore more integrative approaches to well being.
She then leads us into the meat of today’s discussion, a beautifully articulated story detailing the function, regulation and variability of some of the most well studied genes in psychiatric health including the recently popularized MTHFR and COMT.
Taking us on a journey of the neurotransmitter from its production, release, reuptake or breakdown to its eventual signalling and the downstream cascade of events stemming from its simple signal, Dr. Dean’s offers insights as to why many of the medicines we use to treat psychiatric illness are not effective or simply not enough to help someone through a period of significant depression.
She provides us with an integrated theory of mental illness, combining our emerging understanding of inflammation and immune activation in the brain with the role of neurotransmission and neuronal connectivity circuits influencing our behaviors.
This podcast is one of my absolute favorites and it was such an honor to have Dr. Deans on the show. It is quite incredible to think back to my own journey struggling with depression in medical school and the influence of Dr. Deans work some 5 years prior to lead me to a new understanding of whole person wellness.
And with that let’s dig into the show!
Read up on Dr. Dean’s blog here: