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Thinning of Right Hemisphere Is Implicated in Depression

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | April 01, 2009

The study found that thinning on the right side of brain did not correlate with actual depression, only an increased risk for the illness. It was patients who exhibited an additional reduction in brain matter on the left side, who went on to develop depression or anxiety.

Commenting on the potential clinical implications of the findings, Dr. Peterson concluded, "If the mechanism, or pathway to illness, indeed runs from the thinning of the cortex to these cognitive problems that affect a person's attention and their ability to interpret social and emotional cues, it would suggest that there may be potential treatments or novel uses of already existing treatments for intervention.

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"For example, either behavioral therapies that aim to improve attention and memory and/or stimulant medications currently used for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may surface as possible treatments for people who have familial depression and this pattern of cortical thinning," Dr. Peterson said, adding that these treatment methods are still "highly speculative."

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