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Therapy or antidepressants? Coming soon: Brain activity “fingerprints” to personalize depression treatments

mental health.

To Treat Depres­sion, Drugs or Ther­a­py? (The New York Times):

Until recent­ly, many experts thought that your clin­i­cian could lit­er­al­ly pick any anti­de­pres­sant or type of psy­chother­a­py at ran­dom because, with a few clin­i­cal excep­tions, there was lit­tle evi­dence to favor one treat­ment over anoth­er for a giv­en patient

Although the holy grail of per­son­al­ized ther­a­py — be it with psy­chotrop­ic drugs or psy­chother­a­py — has proved elu­sive, we’ve learned a lot recent­ly about indi­vid­ual fac­tors that might pre­dict a bet­ter response to one type of treat­ment over anoth­er…

We know that the insu­la is cen­tral­ly involved in the capac­i­ty for emo­tion­al self-aware­ness, cog­ni­tive con­trol and deci­sion mak­ing, all of which are impaired by depres­sion. Per­haps cog­ni­tive behav­ior ther­a­py has a more pow­er­ful effect than an anti­de­pres­sant in patients with an under­ac­tive insu­la because it teach­es patients to con­trol their emo­tion­al­ly dis­turb­ing thoughts in a way that an anti­de­pres­sant can­not…

One day soon, we may be able to quick­ly scan a patient with an M.R.I. or PET, check the brain activ­i­ty “fin­ger­print” and select an anti­de­pres­sant or psy­chother­a­py accord­ing­ly.”

–>To learn more about the future of brain health and men­tal health, check out this pre­sen­ta­tion deliv­ered by Dr. Thomas Insel, Direc­tor of the Nation­al Insti­tute of Men­tal Health, at the 2014 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit.

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