AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Brain Scan Before Antidepressant Therapy May Predict Response

A functional MRI brain scan may help predict which patients will respond positively to antidepressant therapy. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Michigan performed fMRI scans on patients with major depressive disorder who were to begin antidepressant therapy. Those patients who show more communication within two brain networks when they made a mistake while performing an assigned cognitive task were less likely to respond to antidepressant medication. The two networks are the error detection network — which engages when someone notices they have made a mistake — and the interference processing network, which activates when deciding what information to focus on. “We believe that increased cross-talk within these networks may reflect a propensity to ruminate on negative occurrences, such as mistake, or a deficit in emotional regulation when faced with a mistake, and our medications may be less effective in helping these types of patients,” says Natania Crane, a graduate student in psychiatry in the UIC College of Medicine who is first author on the study.

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