Brain Activity Predicts Treatment Results for Depression TUESDAY, Aug.1 — Factors such as patient beliefs and expectations, treatment history, and doctor-patient relationships may influence the success of drug therapy for major depression, a University of California, Los Angeles study suggests.
Using electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements, the researchers identified changes in brain activity among patients during a one-week placebo lead-in phase — in which patients take a placebo — before they actually started taking antidepressant medication.
A placebo lead-in phase is commonly used to familiarize patients with study procedures and to minimize the effects of any pre-existing depression treatments.
This study of 51 patients found that decreases in cordance in the prefrontal brain region during the placebo lead-in were associated with lower depression scores after eight weeks of antidepressant treatment.
This is the first study to examine the association between brain changes during the placebo lead-in phase and treatment outcome, the authors said. Their findings were published in the August issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
“Treatment results appear to be predicted, in part, by changes in brain activity found during placebo lead-in, prior to the actual use of antidepressant medication,” study lead author Aimee M. Hunter, a research associate at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, said in a prepared statement.
“More research is needed to identify the impact of other non-drug factors that affect brain activity and clinical improvement in patients receiving antidepressant treatment,” Hunter said.
SOURCE:- Aimee M. Hunter, a research associate at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about depression.