Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Depression, Brain Structure, and Heredity - More Data to Crunch

"The depressive brain: it's in the family"
Battling for Health (April 14, 2009)

"The depressive brain is structurally different compared to a non-depresssive brain. And it seems to run in the family. This is reported by scientists at Columbia University. Those with a family history of depression have brains which are, on average, 28% thinner in the area of the right cortex compared to those with out familial history of depression. This difference seems to be evident long before depressive symptoms, if ever, come up. The cortex is the outermost layer of the brain and this thinning of the cortex is also somewhat similar to those observed in patients with schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease...."

This was particularly interesting to me, since I've been diagnosed with major depression. I've got a notion that there's more to depression than just the cortical anomalies mentioned in the article, though.

Mostly because I've only got one of the three problems mentioned: "Failure to pick up on social and emotional stimuli." The others (selected, we're told, from a longer list) - problems with concentration and visual memory - are among my strengths.

I hope that doctors and researchers are beginning to realize that not everyone is - or should be - at the 50th percentile.
A tip of the Lemming's hat to PetLvr on Twitter, for referring me to this article.

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