Scientists Suggest MS Depression May Be Biological

Depression that many people suffering from debilitating multiple sclerosis have previously been believed to be psychological in nature. It is believed to be due to the stress and the concerns that MS patients have to undergo that eventually affects their minds and send them into depression. But recent research may suggest that MS depression may actually be rooted biologically rather than from a psychological standpoint.

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles that the common symptom of depression among MS patients may actually be as a result of changes that happen on the brain. The researchers suggest that the atrophy of the brain’s hippocampus may be responsible for depression in many MS patients. The hippocampus is the area in the brain that is responsible for mood.

The researchers studied 29 MS patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Their brains were examined using brain imaging techniques and then compared with those from 20 healthy control subjects who did not have MS. Three hippocampal sub-regions were examined and the scientists found that one hippocampal sub-region was generally smaller as compared to the brains of the same sub-region of healthy individuals.

In addition to this finding, excessive activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis may be related to the reduced brain volume in the hippocampus and the development of depression in MS patients.

The results of the study suggest that depression that occur among MS patients may not necessarily be a direct psychological response to a diagnosis and a worsening experience with MS. The occurrence of depression may also have a biological component attributed to its development.


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