Depression 'causes brain change'
Older people with depression, who may be paying for care, may have different brain anatomy to those who do not have the condition, research indicates.
A study published in Biological Psychiatry which looked at a large population of elderly people found that those with depression have a smaller hippocampal volume than healthy individuals.
Participants underwent an imaging scan, which was then followed up at five and ten year periods to uncover whether a smaller hippocampus was a risk factor for depression, or an effect of the mental health illness.
Corresponding author Dr Tom den Heijer said: "We found that persons with a smaller hippocampus were not at higher risk to develop depression. In contrast, those with depression declined in volume over time. Our study therefore suggests that a small hippocampal volume in depressed patients is more likely an effect of the depression rather than a cause."
Meanwhile, research published in journal Frontiers of Psychology found that people who took antidepressants were significantly more likely to experience a relapse in depression than those who were not prescribed medication for the condition.
Posted by Natalie Edwards