Depression Is Linked to Hyperconnectivity of Brain Regions, a New Study Shows

2 March, 2012 at 09:07 | Posted in Body & Mind, Science | Leave a comment
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By Casey Schwartz

A new study reveals that people suffering from depression are characterized by an extreme synchronicity of brain regions that could indicate stymied, inflexible brains. Plus, Sharon Begley and Richard J. Davidson on the new science of feelings.

A study published today in PLoS provides surprising new insight into what happens in depressed brains.

In people with depression, brain regions appear to be overly connected to one another, says the study, which comes out of UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. In turn, this excessive connectivity reduces the flexibility the brain needs to function properly.

“Depression is a whole brain disease,” says Dr. Andrew Leuchter, the Semel Institute neuroscientist who led the team that produced the study. “It’s not something that affects just one brain region, but that the entire organ doesn’t appear to be functioning very well.”

Joy Hirsch, a neuroscientist at Columbia who was not involved in this research, remarked on the usefulness of its finding. “Measures of connectivity between remote brain regions is an emerging metric to assess the strength of interactions between remote regions within the brain,” she told The Daily Beast. “The discovery that these patterns are affected in depression is important because it says that information may be distributed differently. This is a novel insight.”

Read more: Depression Is Linked to Hyperconnectivity of Brain Regions, a New Study Shows – The Daily Beast

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