Researchers believe they have found a way to identify children who have major depressive symptoms from those who have obsessive-compulsive tendencies. A study conducted by scientists at Wayne State University, examined the cortical thickness of clients with major depression, those with obsessive compulsive tendencies, and a control group. The findings showed that the clients who were diagnosed with depression had cortical thinning in five key regions, and thickness in the bilateral temporal pole. The clients with obsessive-compulsive symptoms showed only a slight thinning in their left supramarginal gyrus.
“The findings from our study are very exciting,” said David Rosenberg, M.D., the Miriam L. Hamburger Endowed Chair of Child Psychiatry and professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences in the School of Medicine at Wayne State University, and co-author of the study. “By measuring cortical thickness, we were able to distinguish depressed children not only from healthy children without depression, but also from those with another psychiatric disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder.” The results also showed that clients with an immediate family member with depression also had an increase in cortical thickness. “Depressed children with and without a family history of depression who met the same clinical criteria of depression and who appeared the same clinically, had completely different cortical thickness based on their family history of depression,” said Rosenberg.
These new findings offer the possibility of early recognition and intervention in children who otherwise would not be diagnosed and treated until a later date. “It may have potential treatment significance for one-third of depressed children who do not respond to any treatment, and also for many who only partially respond with continued functional impairment,” said Rosenberg in a related article. “We have found a clue to guide us to look at subtypes of depression just as we would in other chronic medical illnesses like diabetes, such as insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent diabetes.”
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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