Tackling depression: Opt for talk therapy or antidepressant? Brain scan can tell.
Researchers have found that specific patterns of activity on brain scans may help doctors 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.
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.
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.
Disclaimer: Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Konkanworld.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article. Please note that under 66A of the IT Act, sending offensive or menacing messages through electronic communication service and sending false messages to cheat, mislead or deceive people or to cause annoyance to them is punishable. It is obligatory on Konkanworld.com to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request. Hence, sending offensive comments using Konkanworld.com will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Konkanworld.com be held responsible. Similarly, Konkanworld.com reserves the right to edit / block / delete the messages without notice any content received from readers.