A PET scan can compare brain activity during periods of depression (left) with normal brain activity (right). An increase in blue and green colors, along with a decrease in white and yellow areas, shows a decrease in brain activity due to depression.
In previous years, depression was often described by medical science as simply “an imbalance of chemicals in the brain”, but the research carried out by modern science has come up with some very interesting findings. A professor in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of San Francisco made the connection between depression and genetics, saying that depression could be a hereditary condition transmitted from generation to generation through genes.
Another scientific breakthrough on the topic of depression has found that, instead of a chemical problem in the brain, depression may actually be related to cell growth and brain connections. The hippocampus portion of the brain, the part responsible for memory and emotion, has been shown to shrink when a person suffers from depression. As the hippocampus shrinks, the cells and networks that make up that part of the brain begin to deteriorate, and this can be a major contributing factor to the depression that a person may experience.
Imaging technology is helping scientists to identify specific brain regions involved in depression, and this can improve the effectiveness of treating and diagnosing the disease.
These findings will help to reduce the suicide rate, which is increasing rapidly and is a major cause of death among young people. In 2007, it was a major cause of death among young people aged 15 to 24 years.
Although the term “depression” can describe normal human emotions, it can also refer to mental disorders. Depressive psychosis in adolescents is determined by the long-term preservation of the state of depression and its influence on the teenager’s or child’s ability to function normally.
“If higher levels of activation of the ventral striatum reward are shown in the investment group, depressive symptoms increase over time. And if higher levels of reward activation are shown in the group that was supportive, a drop in depression is also shown, “said Elva Telzer, a psychologist at the University of Illionis, USA, and responsible for the study. The conclusion is that by directing adolescents to social activities, they can distance themselves from depression, achieving greater well-being.
- Some information from this post was taken from the NAMI CA website
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