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What if you knew that you would suffer from depression four years later? A study has recently found a brain marker that predicts a person's vulnerability to stressful situations and can predict if he/she would suffer from depression, anxiety later in life. This finding has made ways to treat depression and psychological disorders earlier in life and prevent them from taking a toll on one's life. (Read: 8 interesting facts about depression you didn't know)
The study published in the journal Neuron says that scientists have found that a structure deep within the brain called amydgala is responsible for the difference between the way different people react to stressful situations. Senior author Ahmad Hariri, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the Duke University said,' To find that a single measure of the brain can tell us something important about a person's psychological vulnerability to stress up to four years later is really remarkable and novel.' With a brain marker, we could potentially guide people to seek treatment earlier on, before the disorders become so life altering and disruptive that the person can't go on,' first author Johnna Swartz, postdoctoral researcher at the lab of Hariri, explained. (Read: Depression understanding it is half the battle won)
The new study involved 753 participants and the brains of healthy college students were scanned as they looked at angry or fearful faces, which signal danger in our environment. The activity of amydgala in response to the threatening stimuli was determined using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology. The study found that more reactive the amygdala was at the study's start, the more severe their symptoms of anxiety or depression in response to stressful events they encountered after scanning.
You can easily prevent depression and manage it better by these tips:
1. Exercising regularly: Keeping yourself is active is the best way to stay away from depression.Exercise acts as a natural antidepressant by increasing your oxygen intake. A study pointed out that people who performed aerobic and non-aerobic exercises thrice a week for eight weeks at a stretch showed significant decrease in their depression scores irrespective of their choice of activity.
2. Getting enough sleep: A study published in the journal Sleep in 2005 states that insomniacs are 10 times more likely to suffer from depression as compared to their well-rested counterparts.Further studies indicate that disturbances in the circadian rhythm are responsible in triggering major mental illness by altering the chemical patterns in the brain
3. Cut down on sugar consumption: Studies that indicate excess sugar consumption increases one s chances to suffer from depression later in life. In fact, excessive sugar consumption is thought to directly impact the brain and lead to major depression. Another probable explanation given is that sugar consumption can also lead to oxidative stress that can hamper the brain s chemistry and set one up for depression.
4. Limit alcohol intake: It is wise to stay away from alcohol if you have suffered from episodes of depression before or experience early signs of it. Since alcohol is known to be a mood-altering depressant drug, it can make a depressed person depend on it solely and lead to alcoholism.
5. Meditate regularly: Many studies indicate that meditation have a calmer effect on the brain. In fact non-directive meditation is thought to be more effective than focused meditation. The reason being, non-directive meditation significantly increases activity in the areas of the brain associated with emotions and memories that helps one to curb symptoms of depression and help to adapt well with the stress and strains of life.
Image source: Getty Images
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