How much a child’s pupil dilates in response to seeing an emotional image can predict his or her risk of depression over the next two years, according to new research from Binghamton University.

According to Brandon Gibb, professor of psychology at Binghamton University and director of the Mood Disorders Institute and Center for Affective Science, the new findings suggest that physiological reactivity to sad stimuli, assessed using pupillometry, serves as one potential biomarker of depression risk among children of depressed mothers. Notably, pupillometry is an inexpensive tool that could be administered in clinical settings, such as pediatricians’ offices, to help identify which children of depressed mothers are at highest risk for developing depression themselves.

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