Depression’s physical source discovered; potential for new treatments

Depression’s physical source discovered; potential for new treatments

Understanding of the physical root of depression has been advanced, thanks to research by the University of Warwick, UK, and Fudan University, China.

The study shows that affects the part of the brain which is implicated in non-reward—the lateral orbitofrontal cortex—so that sufferers of the disease feel a sense of loss and disappointment associated with not receiving rewards.

This area of the brain, which becomes active when rewards are not received, is also connected with the part of the brain which is involved in one’s sense of self, thus potentially leading to thoughts of personal loss and low self-esteem.

Depression is also associated with reduced connectivity between the reward brain area in the medial orbitofrontal cortex and memory systems in the brain, which could account for sufferers having a reduced focus on happy memories.

These new discoveries could herald a breakthrough in treating depression, by going to the root cause of the illness, and helping depressed people to stop focussing on negative thoughts.

The study has been carried out by Professor Edmund Rolls from Warwick, Professor Jianfeng Feng from Warwick and from Fudan University in Shanghai, Dr Wei Cheng from Fudan University, and by other centres in China.

In a particularly large study, almost 1,000 people in China had their brains scanned using high precision MRI, which analysed the connections between the medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortex—the different parts of the human brain affected by depression… Read More>>

Source: Medical Xpress

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