Brain Imaging Identifies Different Types of Depression

Posted on February 25, 2017

Photo: flickr

People diagnosed with major depressive disorder are generally squeezed under the same umbrella. They are recommended the same treatment between a balance of therapy and medication and are given the same prognoses about their disorder. However, researcher Conor Liston disagrees that we should lump people with depression into the same category. Those affected by the disorder can have various manifestations of symptoms that differ from one person to the next. To understand more clearly, Liston believes that we have to look at the neurobiological differences that distinguishes between two people suffering from the same disorder.

Using brain scans, there have been differences located in the neural pathways in the brain that affect how one with depression copes with the symptoms. Patients can fall into two different subtypes. The first are those that report more fatigue while the second are those that have trouble feeling pleasure in things people normally would. Understanding that there are neurological differences is a breakthrough in terms of interventions and treatments. If we can alter the neurons in the brain then we can alleviate the symptoms a person with depression has.

The current treatment that is being researched is transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. This procedure uses magnets to produce small electrical currents in the brain. Although it is still not fully developed, some patients who show no improvements from medication or therapy can go through the procedure.


Source material from Scientific American


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