Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) could be used to predict which patients with recovered major depressive disorder are most likely to have more depressive episodes, notes a study.
With the help of fMRI, researchers were able to predict which patients would go on to have another depressive episode and which would remain in remission with an overall accuracy of 75 percent.
To test the new approach, researchers from King’s College London and the University of Manchester, gave 64 patients, who were in remission from major depressive disorder and not on prescribed medication, fMRI scans to look for atypical connections in the brain.
In the fMRI scans of those who went on to have another episode of depression, there was a higher connectedness between two parts of the brain that have been previously linked to guilt, the anterior temporal lobe and the subgenual region, according to the study.
Researchers said people who remained in remission over the following year did not have this increased interconnectedness.
The researchers also tested the approach on a control group of 39 people with no personal or family history of major depressive disorder, finding that they also did not have the increased interconnectedness.