Antidepressants Help Protect Hippocampus,
an Important Brain Structure
by Kevin Caruso
A Washington University School of Medicine study that was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry indicates that antidepressants may protect an important brain structure, the hippocampus, which is otherwise frequently damaged by depression.
The hippocampus is an area of the brain that is involved in memory and learning.
The study was performed with 38 females who had experienced an average of five major depressive episodes during their lifetimes, and who received antidepressants for only some of those episodes.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to measure the overall size of the hippocampus in the women. Also, extensive interviews were conducted to determine how long each woman had been depressed and when she had used antidepressants.
The results indicated that the size of the hippocampus was predictable based on the length of time that a woman was depressed versus the length of time that she was being treated by antidepressants.
The more time the woman spent on antidepressants when she was depressed, the larger the hippocampus was.
"Our results suggest that if a woman takes antidepressants whenever she is depressed, depression would have less effect on the volume of her hippocampus. It is the untreated days that seem to affect hippocampal volumes," said one of the researchers.
So taking antidepressants may not only help end your depression, but can also protect an important area of your brain.
Please consult with your doctor and psychiatrist to learn more about antidepressants and to
determine if they are right for you.
Antidepressants do not work on all individuals.
Antidepressants may cause side effects.
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