Live Wire News: Hyperconnected Brain Areas Are Linked With Depression – photo by NOPSA
In a startling new discovery, scientists now say that hyperconnected brain areas are linked with depression, thus causing the problems with focus, anxiety and memory.
According to the Scientific American, recent brain-imaging studies suggest that areas of the brain involved in mood, concentration and conscious thought are hyperconnected, which scientists believe could lead to the problems with focus, anxiety and memory frequently seen in depression.
Psychiatrist Andrew Leuchter of the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues measured the activity of depressed patients’ brains at rest by using a functional MRI and electroencephalography. The tests found that the limbic and cortical areas, which both produce and process our emotions, sent a blast of neural messages back and forth to one another. The shower of messages was much more than in the brains of healthy patients. According to Leuchter, these signals can boost the negative thoughts that depressed individuals can have while drowning out the other positive neural messages.
In a seperate but more nuanced study, Shuqiao Yao of Central South University in Hunan, China produced a different view on these two areas’ of hyperconnectivity. In the published work titled, Biological Psychiatry, Yao and team stated that stronger links among certain corticolimbic circuits are seen in patients that are prone to the act of continuously replaying negative thoughts. Moreover, less connectivity in other corticolimbic circuits corresponded to autobiographical memory impairments and loss.
While there is no definitive answer as to whether these connectivity changes are a cause or an effect of depression, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, a study that took place earlier this year, found that using electroconvulsive therapy alleviates depression’s symptoms and decreases connectivity in the hub where the cortical and limbic systems intersect.
Live Wire News: Hyperconnected Brain Areas Are Linked With Depression.