Latest News » Study: Brain connectivity could play role in young adult depression

Researchers found hyperconnectivity in the brains of individuals who had experienced depression as young adults.

Researchers found hyperconnectivity in the brains of individuals who had experienced depression as young adults.

Research is revealing new insights into brain health, specifically depression experienced by young adults. According to an article from HealthDay News, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have found that individuals who experience depression in adolescence may have hyper-connected brain networks which may help explain why they developed the condition in the first place.

The U of I study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, uses functional magnetic resonance imaging technology to get a look at the brains of 18 to 23-year-olds in a resting state. The researchers checked to see if there was any difference between the brains of those who had experienced depression in their youth and those who had not. The participants in the study were not medicated. 

As the article explains, hyper​-connectivity in the brain means its various regions engage in too much communication, which means that the individuals are overthinking. 

To determine whether the presence of hyper-connectivity can indicate a recurrence of depression, the researchers will continue following the participants. It was noted that cognitive control plays a role in whether or not an individual has ruminating thoughts. 

"Rumination is a risk factor for depression and for reoccurrence of depression if you've had it in the past," said Scott Langenecker, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the university, in a news release.  

It was further noted that it might be possible to intervene during the transition from adolescence to adulthood to help individuals prevent from becoming chronically depressed.

According to an article from MedicalExpress, Langenecker also explains that they are speculating depression to be a "developmental outcome," something that could possibly be prevented. 

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