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Science. Post-traumatic brain injury depression is different from any other. TBI affective disorder

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The depression that develops after traumatic brain injury is different from other types of the disease, the authors of a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine say. As they show, the brain of a sick person works in a different way during it than the brain of a person suffering from depression caused by another factor. It may also respond differently to conventional treatments.

The very link between the occurrence of traumatic brain injury and the risk of depression or bipolar affective disorders has already been demonstrated in the past in numerous studies. As lead author of the paper published in Science Translational Medicine, Dr. Shan Siddiqi, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, admits that researchers have long believed that traumatic brain injury depression is “somehow” different from other forms of the disease, but “never they haven’t proven it.” Only a study conducted by his team confirmed these assumptions.

If you are experiencing emotional problems and would like advice or support, here you will find a list of organizations offering professional help. In a life-threatening situation, call 997 or 112.

Depression after traumatic brain injury

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The paper published on Wednesday describes the results of five separate studies conducted using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology. Brain scans were performed on both people who had experienced traumatic brain injury in the past and those who had not. They also included people who developed depression after a brain injury and people who developed depression as a result of other factors. Studies have also been conducted on people with and without PTSD. In total, the research group consisted of 273 people.

The analysis of the results showed that both people who developed depression after a traumatic brain injury and people whose illness was caused by other factors, the same brain circuits were linked to the disease. However, they seemed to work in the opposite way. For example, the same circuits that were overactive in people with trauma-related depression were underactive in people who were depressed for other reasons.

Interestingly, these differences also occurred in people who experienced depressive episodes before the brain injury. According to Dr. Matthew Peters of Johns Hopkins Medicine, quoted by NBC News, who was not involved in the study, may suggest that post-injury depression “is driven by something else in the brain” than other forms of the disease.

Importantly, people with depression as a result of brain damage also have a lower chance of recovering from the disease, says lead author Dr. Siddiqi. In his opinion, this may be due to both the fact that treatment of other ailments may be a priority after an injury, which means that the issue of treating depression is postponed, and the fact that the classic methods of its treatment, i.e. drugs and psychotherapy, do not work in its case just as effectively.

SEE ALSO: About 280 million people in the world suffer from depression, about a million in Poland. What are its symptoms?

TBI affective disorder

Due to the differences between depression following traumatic brain injury and other forms of the disease, Dr. Siddiqia postulates its separation and renaming it TBI affective disorder (TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury – ed.).

DepressionPAP/ Maria Samczuk

Speaking to NBC News, Dr. Jesse Fann of the University of Washington School of Medicine, unrelated to the study, explained that the reason previous work did not clearly confirm the difference in depression caused by brain damage may be that it was based on “less sensitive brain imaging technology” than the one used by Dr. Siddiqia.

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