Brain Trauma and Depression / Anxiety Links Explored In New Research


Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can cause lasting mental damage. New research shows that at least some of this could be due to physical damage to white matter in the brain.

The study, published in the journal for the Radiological Society of North America, shows that detectable, unique brain patterns can be seen among people with depression or anxiety after a concussion (TBI). When compared to those who had no concussion history or mental health problems, the patterns were clear, researchers say.

A different MRI method was required to detect these changes.

Traditional brain scan images rarely show any difference between the brains of those who suffer from anxiety or depression versus those who do not. Diffusion tensor imaging, which highlights white matter and abnormalities in its structure, can be used to help with diagnosis and treatment of other brain disorders such as multiple sclerosis and degenerative neurological disorder. Researchers wondered if it could be use with TBI to find changes causing depression or anxiety as well.

The study researchers found those differences. Depressed, post-concussion sufferers, they say, had decreased functionality of the parts of the brain associated with the "reward circuit" - the pathways used to boost mood. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center team says that the regions affected are very similar to those found to be affected in non-trauma depression, solidifying their findings.

Because this has not been linked to anxiety sufferers who do not have brain trauma, however, it may mean that anxiety patients with TBI may be of a different type than traditional anxiety disorders.

Source: Medical Daily


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