People with depression have hyperactive brain activity, according to a study published online today that offers new insight into the brain dysfunction that causes depression.
Researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles studied the functional connections of the brain in 121 individuals, ages 21-80, who had been diagnosed with depression. They used quantitative electroencephalography to measure the synchronization of brain waves (electrical signals from the brain) to study networks among the different brain regions.
“All the depressed patients showed increased connectivity,” says psychiatrist Andrew Leuchter, lead author of the study, published in the international online journal PLoS ONE. “We know from brain science studying normal individuals that the connections are turning off and on all the time. If you take a snapshot of a depressed person’s brain, you’re going to find the connections turned on at any given time.”