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Severe depression can shrink the brain by blocking the formation of new nerve connections, a study has shown.
I have always noticed that when someone is suffering from depression they seem to have loss of concentration and memory as well as blunted emotional responses. This is obviously the reason why.
Several genes involved in building synapses, the connection points between brain cells, were suppressed in people with MDD. ( major depressive disorder)
This was thought to contribute to shrinkage of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is known to occur in MDD sufferers.
Researchers in the US analysed brain tissue from patients who had died after being diagnosed with MDD.
They found molecular signs of reduced activity in genes necessary for the function and structure of brain synapses.
Turning on this genetic switch GATA1 reduced the activity of the genes and triggered the loss of brain connections.
Study leader Professor Ronald Duman said: “We wanted to test the idea that stress causes a loss of brain synapses in humans.
“Ronald Duman showed that the circuits involved in emotion, as well as cognition, are disrupted when this single transcription factor is activated.”
The research is published in the latest issue of the journal ‘Nature Medicine’.
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