New data on brain network activity can help in understanding ‘cognitive vulnerability’ to depression

Neuroimaging studies of interconnected brain networks may provide the “missing links” between behavioral and biological models of cognitive vulnerability to depression, according to a research review in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Research on neural network interactions and related brain activity patterns has provided new insights into the thought processes that make some people vulnerable to depression, according to the update by Dr. Shuqiao Yao of Central South University in Changsha, China, and colleagues. They believe this “neural system perspective” might help in clarifying cognitive vulnerability versus resilience to depression, perhaps leading to the development of new treatment approaches.

Cognitive (thinking-related) factors have a well-established impact on vulnerability to major depressive disorder. Cognitive processes involving rumination and “negatively biased” self-assessments are believed to be key factors contributing to the development of depression.

“Although it is generally accepted that cognitive factors contribute to the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder, there are missing links between behavioral and biological models of depression,” Dr. Yao and coauthors write. “Advances in brain imaging, especially in the field of intrinsic neural network research, may provide a useful tool to identify the missing neural-behavioral links.”

Read the full article at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/wkh-ndo050916.php