Recent research has identified a potential brain-based biomarker for depressive symptoms in people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). About half of those who experience a TBI will also experience a depression within a year, according to researchers. Patients with both are more likely to have reductions in cognitive performance, greater functional disability, increased suicide attempts, and other social and sexual difficulties .
The study was published in Frontiers in Neurology Neurotrauma found that individuals with traumatic brain injury and depression exhibit increased brain connectivity between multiple regions and sub-networks of the brain and the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotional processing compared to people with minimal depressive symptoms. Researchers further observed differences in brain connectivity patterns that predicted the type of depressive symptoms, specifically whether individuals leaned toward cognitive symptoms (related to thought patterns) or affective symptoms (related to general mood) .
For the study, researchers analyzed MRI scans of 54 people, between the ages of 20 and 60, who have suffered TBI, including 31 with mild to severe depressive symptoms and 23 with minimal depressive symptoms.
While all individuals in the TBI group were at least six months post-injury at the time of the study, the average length of time since injury was eight years with no history of any significant, clinically-diagnosed neurological or psychiatric disorders or history of depressive symptoms prior to their TBI.
The results showed that individuals who expressed a predominance of cognitive symptoms such as thoughts of guilt, worthlessness, self-dislike or suicidal ideation, demonstrated reduced amygdala connectivity with prefrontal cortices of the default mode and cognitive affective symptoms, such as crying, loss of interest, indecisiveness and loss of please showed reduced amygdala connectivity with brain regions of salience (i.e. the insula), attention (i.e. the parietal lobules) and visual networks.
This study is part of a larger research effort to study the treatment and therapy associated with the effects of a strategy-based cognitive training in veterans and civilians who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Additionally, since depressive symptoms very greatly, teasing apart a diagnosis in the context of a traumatic brain injury is often difficult . This study tried to clarify differences.
Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., Center for BrainHealth founder and chief director said, “While this study is specific to traumatic brain injury, we believe this work will eventually be expanded to benefit the general public. This could have life-changing benefits for people months and even years after a brain injury as well as for individuals affected by depression who have never had a brain injury.”
Once this work is further analyzed, Kihwan Han, PH.D., the study’s lead author and postdoctoral research associate at the Center for BrainHealth said that he will analyze whether such reductions in depressive and stress-related symptoms after the training are associated with changes in amygdala connectivity.
Depression & TBIs
Depression is a very serious matter. Depression is more than simply feeling sad sometimes. Depression is long lasting sadness that is accompanied by a serious lack of energy and an inability to enjoy things in your daily life. Depression is a treatable disorder. If you feel like you are depressed, or suffer from a TBI, you should see a doctor immediately. Fifteen percent (15%) of people are diagnosed with depression die of suicide. Continually, depression is more common in people who have suffered a brain injury. Ten percent (10%) of Americans suffer from depression. However, thirty percent (30%) of people who have had a TBI suffer from depression. This is a stark and alarming difference and this difference is true regardless of the severity of the TBI.
With the possibility of having biomarkers, researchers have given new insight into how the after effects of TBIs can be managed or possibly prevented. If depression can be mapped and treated thoroughly by being able to understand the specific patterns emotions develop in the brain, then a lot of people will be saved from a life changing injury that can affect their mood, job, love life and familial relationships.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
It is wise to contact an experience personal injury attorney if you suffer from a TBI or depression. Call one of the experienced attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA if you or someone close to you needs help in recovering from a TBI or depression. One of our brain injury attorneys is willing and waiting to assist you, so please call for more information on how we can help your family with this important issue. Call (727) 451-6900 today.
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