Brain Differences Seen In Depressed Preschoolers | Newsroom

Published by Monday, October 26th, 2015

Brain scans of preschoolers with depression revealed elevated activity in the amygdala (the small area in the red circle)

Depression-Treatment-150x150A key brain structure that regulates emotions works differently in preschoolers with depression compared with their healthy peers, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The differences, measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), provide the earliest evidence yet of changes in brain function in young children with depression. The researchers say the findings could lead to ways to identify and treat depressed children earlier in the course of the illness, potentially preventing problems later in life.

“The findings really hammer home that these kids are suffering from a very real disorder that requires treatment,” said lead author Michael S. Gaffrey, PhD. “We believe this study demonstrates that there are differences in the brains of these very young children and that they may mark the beginnings of a lifelong problem.”

The study is published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

By Jim Dryden

July 1, 2013

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