Depression is often one of the difficult conditions clients of the Alaska Personal Injury Law Group face following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Depression is suffered by about 5% of the general population, but over 40% of those recoverying from head trauma can suffer from depression. Until now, it has been difficult to understand how depression and TBI are linked, although that association has long been known.
Studying athletes who suffered concussions, the researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University have shown the neurological basis for depression in a study published this week in the Archives of General Psychiatry. They studied 40 concussion victims against healthy subjects and found through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that the same areas of the brain were affected in both the athletes and those patients with major depression. Abnormal neural activity was found in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and striatum, as well as attenuated deactivation in the medial and temporal regions. Gray matter loss was also confirmed using Voxel based morphometry (VBM), a neuroimaging analysis technique that analyzes focal differences in brain volume.
This type of medical advance in imaging will help clients and care providers better understand why depressed mood is occurring after someone has had a traumatic brain injury. Ultimately, it is hoped that such imaging will lead to better diagnosis and treatment for those who suffer the devastating consequences of traumatic brain injury.
Source: Neural Substrates of Symptoms of Depression Following Concussion in Male Athletes With Persisting Postconcussion Symptoms, Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(1):81-89. http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/65/1/81