Untreated Depression Reducing Brain Volume

Major Depressive Disorder Impacting the Brain’s Structural Composition

A new study suggests that having a more severe and chronic lifetime disease course in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) results in reduced volume in brain regions relevant to executive cognitive functions and emotion regulation when left untreated (Lemke et al., 2022). 681 patients from the Marbur-Muenster-Affective-Cohort Study (MACS) participated in this study with hopes of identifying the neuorigcal impacts of chronic MDD (Lemke et al., 2022).

(Image Source: Buoy Health)

(Image Source HMP Global Learning Network)

According to Lemke et al., the principal component analysis yielded two main components: Hospitalization reflected by patients’ frequency and duration of inpatient treatment and Duration of Illness reflected by the frequency and duration of depressive episodes (2022). These two principal components played a pivotal role in impacting the amount of grey mass in the hippocampal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex regions of the brain.

Treatment plays a significant role in curbing the likelihood of significant hippocampal alterations. Most individuals are aware of the profound social ramifications that come from Major Depressive Disorder, but it is critical to spread awareness regarding the long-term neurological impacts MDD can have on the brain.

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Lemke, H., Romankiewicz, L., Förster, K., Meinert, S., Waltemate, L., Fingas, S.M., Grotegerd, D., Redlich, R., Dohm, K., Leehr, E. J., Thiel, K., Enneking, V., Brosch, K., Meller, T., Ringwald, K., Schmitt, S., Stein, F., Steinsträter, O., Bauer, J., Heindel, W., Jansen, A., Krug, A., Nenadic, I., Kircher, T., Dannlowski, U. (2022). Association of disease course and brain structural alterations in major depressive disorder. Wiley Online Library. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/da.23260

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