Monday, October 02, 2006

TO READ: Hoping your antidepressant works may really help
We all know that biological phenomena (say, getting a bad cold) can affect psychological phenomena (you feel miserable). But now researchers are finding more evidence that the reverse happens too: Your biology, such as how well your antidepressants work, may change as a result of your psychological state.

Researchers at UCLA recently found that some patients with major depression had a specific brain activity pattern, and that this pattern correlated well with their positive response to an antidepressant they were later given. And it appears that this particular brain pattern was a result of hope or optimism (or perhaps simply from having positive interactions with the medical staff).

In the study, fifty-one depressed adults were given a placebo pill for a "lead-in period" of one week, and their EEGs were measured. Then half of the patients got an antidepressant while the other half continued on the placebo for eight weeks. The patients with the "hopeful" brain activity pattern were better responders to the antidepressant. (While those who improved on the placebo also had a distinct brain activity pattern, it was different than the one predicted by hope.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading these tidbits of depression. I think that you should get a newspaper to print your column!