Repeated Depression Shrinks Brain Area Involved in Emotions, Memories

MRI scans of nearly 9,000 people shows link between people with recurrent depression and a smaller part of the brain called the hippocampus.

The brains of people with recurrent depression have a significantly smaller hippocampus — the part of the brain most associated with forming new memories — than healthy individuals, a new global study of nearly 9,000 people reveals.

Published in Molecular Psychiatry, the ENIGMA study is co-authored by University of Sydney scholars at the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

The research is the largest international study to compare brain volumes in people with and without major depression. It highlights the need to identify and treat depression effectively when it first occurs, particularly among teenagers and young adults.

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