Imbalance in the functioning of brain-related systems can help predict the rate of depression of teenagers, a study published in Biological psychiatry: cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging, published by Elsevier. Appropriate coordination of the frontoinsular brain networks helps us regulate our attention between external goals and self-focused or emotional thinking. But the abnormalities in coordination between these networks were not only evident in teenagers with severe depression, but also critically predicted increased depression symptoms two weeks later.
"Teens are a time of extraordinary growth and opportunity, as young people create new relationships, learn how to move with intense emotions, and pass to independence. But during adolescence, a large and increasing number of teenagers experience their experience: clinical depression and accompanying problems with mood for the first time, "says the first author of Dr. Roselinde Kaiser, University of Colorado in Boulder.
"Our challenge as a clinician, scientist and parent is: how do we anticipate which teenagers will experience mood problems in the near future?"
Dr. Kaiser and colleagues tested the idea of using fMRI to predict future mood health. They measured the activity of the frontoinsular networks, while adolescents played a difficult computer game that included emotional images. Current foresight tools mostly use self-report, which may be unreliable in teen years.
"Our results have shown that adolescents who have shown an unbalanced coordination through brain systems-that is, lower coordination between areas involved in targeted attention, and greater coordination between areas involved in self-focusing thought-have continued to report a greater increase in depression of two a week later, greater mood swings and greater intensity of negative mood in everyday life, "says Dr. Kaiser.
Network functionality has made it possible to better predict future mood health over current symptoms – a critical difference, authors wrote, suggesting that the functioning of the frontoinsular network could predict who could develop a more serious depression between two teenagers with the same current symptoms.
"This very interesting study highlights the important role that the frontoinsular circles, measured using fMRI in the treatment of emotional stimulants, can play in regulating our mood, and how the damage in the function of this network can be the basis of present and current negative states of mood," says Cameron Carter, MD, editor Biological psychiatry: cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging.
Although the study assessed the state of health of the mood only two weeks later, the results suggest that the functioning of the frontoinsular network can be useful in predicting future mood health in teenage years. If confirmed in longer clinical studies, the results indicate that this measure could be provided by a neurobiological risk prediction that would help in the management of interventions to prevent severe depression.
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