New research hints at the underlying neurological basis of depression, involving key areas like the pons and the cortico-limbic network.
The research (Wong, 2022) involved two sets of MRI investigations to investigate the pons and other neural networks were involved in affective processing. These studies were then used to study the differences between those with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and a control group. A key finding was that the connections between the amygdala and the pons was much stronger in those with MDD, but this connectivity was also linked to the severity of the depression. In other words, the stronger the connection the worse the depression.
Understanding the neurological basis of depression is crucial for addressing the problem and developing medications to aid in the treatment of MDD.
An interesting finding and of immediate practical use is the guiding away of sad visual information. Visual sad information stimulates the pons and “reinforces the depressed mood.
The World Health Organisation citing research (WHO, 2022) holds that at 280 million individuals worldwide are affected by depression.
Over 700,000 people commit suicide every year with the demographic 15 - 29-year-olds having suicide as the fourth leading cause of death.
The University of Hong Kong. "Research reveals the pons plays a significant role in processing sad information." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2022. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/06/220622113158.htm>