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Brain Scans may help identify whether Talk Therapy or Antidepressant Medication more likely to help a Patient recover from Depression

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Brain Scans may help identify whether Talk Therapy or Antidepressant Medication more likely to help a Patient recover from Depression
A depressed woman (representational Image), VOA

New York, March 26, 2017: Researchers have found that specific patterns of activity on brain scans may help clinicians identify whether talk therapy or antidepressant medication is more likely to help a patient recover from depression.

“All depressions are not equal and like different types of cancer, different types of depression will require specific treatments,” said lead researcher Helen Mayberg, Professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, US.

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The study, published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry, randomly assigned patients to 12 weeks of treatment with one of two antidepressant medications or with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a talking therapy aimed at helping people manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave.

At the start of the study, patients underwent a functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scan, which was then analysed to see whether the outcome from CBT or medication depended on the state of the brain prior to starting treatment.

The MRI scans identified that the degree of functional connectivity between an important emotion processing centre (the subcallosal cingulate cortex) and three other areas of the brain was associated with the treatment outcomes.

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Specifically, patients with positive connectivity between the brain regions were significantly more likely to achieve remission with talk therapy, whereas patients with negative or absent connectivity were more likely to remit with antidepressant medication.

“Using these scans, we may be able to match a patient to the treatment that is most likely to help them, while avoiding treatments unlikely to provide benefit,” Mayberg added.

These results suggest that achieving personalised treatment for depressed patients will depend more on identifying specific biological characteristics in patients rather than relying on their symptoms or treatment preferences. (IANS)

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Increased Usage of Digital Media Can Lead to Depression in Young Adults

Moreover, research shows that young people are not sleeping as much as they did in previous generations

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carbon, digital
Multiple apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York.. VOA

Increased use of digital media may be partly responsible for the growth in the percentage of young adults experiencing certain types of mental health disorders in the US over the past decade, suggests new research.

“More US adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide,” said lead study author Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University in the US.

“These trends are weak or non-existent among adults 26 years and over, suggesting a generational shift in mood disorders instead of an overall increase across all ages,” Twenge added.

For the study, the researchers analysed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey that has tracked drug and alcohol use, mental health and other health-related issues in individuals aged 12 and over in the US since 1971.

They looked at survey responses from more than 200,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 from 2005 to 2017, and almost 400,000 adults aged 18 and over from 2008 to 2017.

Social Media, digital, Encryption, drink, whatsapp, depression
Study Links Social Media Addicts, Substance Abusers. (VOA)

The rate of individuals reporting symptoms consistent with major depression in the last 12 months increased 52 per cent in adolescents from 2005 to 2017 – from 8.7 per cent to 13.2 per cent — and 63 per cent in young adults aged 18 to 25 from 2009 to 2017 – from 8.1 per cent to 13.2 per cent, showed the findings published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

“Cultural trends in the last 10 years may have had a larger effect on mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes among younger generations compared with older generations,” said Twenge.

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She believes this trend may be partially due to increased use of electronic communication and digital media, which may have changed modes of social interaction enough to affect mood disorders.

Moreover, research shows that young people are not sleeping as much as they did in previous generations, she noted. (IANS)