A scientific advance may have found the physical source of depression in the brain.
The discovery could give rise to theories that change the treatment and perception of mental illness. This would be a big step in the understanding of the physical cause of depression.
The University of Warwick in the UK and the University of Fudan in China have demonstrated that depression affects the orbital frontal lateral cortex.
This part of the brain is activated when suffering punishment or when it does not receive rewards. Because of this, it is thought that depression could be associated with the feeling a person gets when not being rewarded.
An Important Study to Combat Depression
Professor Feng, author of the study, said:
“At least one out of ten people suffer from depression throughout their lives. Depression is an illness that is so common in modern society that we can even find traces of Prozac (an anti-depressant) in the tap water in London.”
“Our discovery, with the combination of much data through out the world and our new methods, allows us to locate the source of depression.
This should open new paths for better therapeutic treatments in the near future and therefore enable us to treat this terrible illness.”
Results of the study
Researchers obtained important conclusions after scanning the brains of 909 people in China using high-precision MRIs.
This technique showed the activity of the connections between the different parts of the human brain affected by depression. This would be the orbital frontal media cortex and lateral.
The orbital frontal lateral, associated with lack of rewards, showed a stronger connectivity in the depressed group of subjects.
The discoveries about the way in which depression is related to diverse functional connectivity of the orbital frontal cortex will be of great use during treatment.
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Sources of depression
This important study has demonstrated that this part of the brain, the orbital frontal cortex, is activated when a person suffers severe punishment or when a desired reward is not received.
Because of this, experts believe that depression could be associated with these perceptions.
The discovery may enable us to try new ways to treat and perceive this mental condition.
At the same time, this provides important steps to understanding the physical cause of depression.
Factors that have an impact on depression
There’s no one thing that causes depression. In reality, some people are more prone to having depression than others.
Therefore, there are different reasons that attempt to explain this predisposition:
Genetic and biochemical factors
- Heredity. There is a major risk of suffering from clinical depression when there is a family history of the illness. Because of this, there is a biological predisposition.
- Biochemical factors. In addition, studies show that the biochemistry of the brain plays a very important role in depression. People with severe depression tend to have an imbalance of certain chemical substances in the brain, known as neurotransmitters.
- It is also true that sleep patterns tend to be different in people who have depression.
- Finally, certain medications can cause or alleviate depression and some hormones can alter emotional states.
- In addition, situations such as the death of a close family member or a friend can be the cause. A chronic illness, interpersonal problems, economical problems, a divorce, etc. may also cause depression.
- All of the above can cause episodes of depression. If sustained for a period of time, can end up in clinical depression.
- Seasonal effective disorder (SAD). Due to this, there are individuals who develop depression during the winter months when days are shorter.
- It may be that a decrease in hours of light affects the balance of certain chemical compounds in the brain. This can cause depression in some people.
- Personality. People who have negative mental images, low self-esteem, the feeling of lack of control over circumstances in life, and a tendency to worry excessively, are more apt to suffer from depression. It seems that a pattern of negative thoughts tends to establish itself in childhood or adolescence. After a time, this results in a depressed personality.
If you or a loved one suffers from depression, never hesitate to get some help. It’s the best way to recover and feel great again!