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New Brain Scans Identify Early Signs of Depression

February 22, 2016
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According to Medical News Today, in the year 2014, 15.7 million adults in the United States experienced at least one episode of major depression. While only one episode of depression within a year may not seem outrageously high, when someone experiences their first bout they are more likely to experience more. That is why taking preventative measures is of key importance when it comes to dealing with depression. A new study done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows that by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), brains scans can be used to identity later life depression in children. During the study, the MIT team scanned the brains of 43 children without depression between the ages of 8-14. They found that out of those 43 children, 27 were already at high risk for depression due to family history of the disease. The children that were at high risk had brain activity that was similar to adults with depression. The researchers from this study believe that not only could the fMRI identify children who are at high risk for depression because of family history, but could also identify those who are at high risk depression without a family history either. This finding is so revolutionary because it could transform the way intervention and prevention for depression is practiced resulting in less depression diagnoses.  
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