Medical

Brain scans could head off depression

Brain scans could head off dep...
The results of the study could allow doctors to perform preventative treatment for depression
The results of the study could allow doctors to perform preventative treatment for depression
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The results of the study could allow doctors to perform preventative treatment for depression
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The results of the study could allow doctors to perform preventative treatment for depression

A simple brain scan could identify children at risk of suffering from depression later in life, according to a new study. If implemented, the early warning test could allow doctors to carry out treatment prior to the first instance of depression, making it less likely that the patient will suffer further bouts.

The study was conductedby an international team of researchers, and focused on a samplegroup of 27 children between the ages of 8 – 14 who were believedto be at a higher risk of suffering from depression owing to a familyhistory with the disease. Brain scans carried out on this group werethen compared to those of 16 children who had no family history ofdepression, in an attempt to isolate potential abnormalities.

Prior research in thefield had isolated unusual brain activity in patients who sufferedfrom the disease. The work highlighted increased activity between thesubgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) and theamygdala. However, in this instance the researchers wereunable to determine whether these abnormalities were the cause or theresult of an instance of depression.

The new study made useof a process known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)to monitor a patient's blood flow to certain regions ofthe brain. This allowed the researchers to measure localized brainactivity, and in so doing isolate synchronization patternshighlighting which regions of the brain were communicating with eachother while the patient was at rest.

For children believedto be at a heightened risk of depression, the scientists observed anumber of distinct synchronization patterns. One of the key findingshighlighted a strong connection between the sgACC and the default mode network.

The unusual brainactivity exhibited by the high-risk children bore many similaritiesto that of adults suffering from the disease, leading the researchersto conclude that the abnormalities are not the result of the disease,but may instead be contributing to its onset.

The next step for theteam will be to continue monitoring the brain activity of thechildren in order to determine whether early treatment can preventfuture episodes of depression.

Source: MIT

2 comments
2 comments
Bob Stuart
Brain scans are almost indispensable for an accurate diagnosis. I expect them to highlight the problems with most drug treatments.
johnnybe
yeah--and how do we fix these little brains up-- drug them I suppose--and that's OK is it--its like were all looking for something wrong in others-- to fix with a drug--for us -and our ego's--we heal- we fix-- but in reality -we manage-- when that's reported as harmful-debilitating by over 50%-who have no one to protect them from reported adverse treatments-and effects-- forced into them by these ego trippers- when there's a reason for everything- and an answer -"that heals"-- answers that don't involve- misery- coercion -and poisons - incarcerations--etc.-current mental health treatments--most of the time-- you just need time-- time to see/learn how to live and think-behave- in socially acceptable ways-in the classroom- in the playground -on the street-better to focus on/build on- sameness--rather than differences that can isolate-and contribute to more insecurity- the reason for most feeling thinking problems-- and then drug it-- put a band-aid on it-- because of it's difference-- teach them the difference -- show them the difference-- and them teach them-how and why-that's going to help them- and then give them the time they need to develop and understand the new awarenesses that will help them to cope- navigate their way. if that was their aim -- I wouldn't mind-- and neither would the kids or their families-- families-people-who don't want nor agree with long term medication band-aids that- potentially harms 50%-forcefully and without escape- either themselves, or especially their kids. Their nothing wrong with any of this stuff-- provided that in the event of a client or child for that matter-- being given the opportunity to come away from a medication when both the child and their family report adversity that is too much- debilitating- for them and their thinking and feeling. So "coercion" in giving love- guidance-peace of mind- has to go. Its all about socialisation--that's all that matters to most-let alone kids where it matters more than anything-- these aren't mad insane kids or people-- but are being treated as such-- mad is the bloke who stands on the street at the fence-line for hours on end--and watches and waits for the weeds to grow-- that's mad-- that might need a long time of medication--maybe even a lifetime--but even that would be a failure-- in my mind anyway. The kids and adults who are being forcefully treated today-- are the lunatics-- from the fence line of yesterday in the eyes and minds of psychiatry and mental health-- not them or the majority of society-- but are being treated in the same way. when their nothing like it.