Imaging may help with depression

April 3, 2006

Whether or not cognitive behavior therapy will help a person recover from depression can be predicted through brain imaging, a U.S. study found.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers say more than 17 million U.S. adults will experience at least one episode of major depression this year, but only 40 percent to 60 percent will respond to any given first-line treatment, such as therapy or medication.

Being able to predict who will respond to cognitive behavior therapy, and who will not, may prove to be a valuable tool for treating depression, said study leader Greg J. Siegle, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"We found that people with depression who have increased activity in one area of the brain and decreased activity in another in response to emotional stimuli, are more likely to respond to a specific treatment -- cognitive therapy," said Siegle. "If this finding holds true, we may be able to predict what therapies will be most effective."

The American Journal of Psychiatry published the findings.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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