Imaging technique shows brain anatomy change in women with multiple sclerosis, depression

January 31, 2014, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

A multicenter research team led by Cedars-Sinai neurologist Nancy Sicotte, MD, an expert in multiple sclerosis and state-of-the-art imaging techniques, used a new, automated technique to identify shrinkage of a mood-regulating brain structure in a large sample of women with MS who also have a certain type of depression.

In the study, women with MS and symptoms of "depressive affect" – such as depressed mood and loss of interest – were found to have reduced size of the right hippocampus. The left hippocampus remained unchanged, and other types of depression – such as vegetative depression, which can bring about extreme fatigue – did not correlate with hippocampal size reduction, according to an article featured on the cover of the January 2014 issue of Human Brain Mapping.

The research supports earlier studies suggesting that the hippocampus may contribute to the high frequency of depression in . It also shows that a computerized imaging technique called automated surface mesh modeling can readily detect thickness changes in subregions of the hippocampus. This previously required a labor-intensive manual analysis of MRI images.

Sicotte, the article's senior author, and others have previously found evidence of tissue loss in the , but the changes could only be documented in manual tracings of a series of special high-resolution MRI images. The new approach can use more easily obtainable MRI scans and it automates the brain mapping process.

"Patients with medical disorders – and especially those with inflammatory diseases such as MS – often suffer from depression, which can cause fatigue. But not all fatigue is caused by depression. We believe that while fatigue and depression often co-occur in patients with MS, they may be brought about by different biological mechanisms. Our studies are designed to help us better understand how MS-related differs from other types, improve diagnostic imaging systems to make them more widely available and efficient, and create better, more individualized treatments for our patients," said Sicotte, director of Cedars-Sinai's Multiple Sclerosis Program and the Neurology Residency Program. She received a $506,000 grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society last year to continue this research.

Explore further: Hippocampal volume loss in depression reflects glial loss

More information: Human Brain Mapping, "Detection of Altered Hippocampal Morphology in Multiple Sclerosis-Associated Depression Using Automated Surface Mesh Modeling." Cover of the January 2014 print edition.

Related Stories

Hippocampal volume loss in depression reflects glial loss

December 17, 2013
Depression has been associated with reduced volume of the hippocampus in magnetic resonance imaging studies in humans. A new study just published in Biological Psychiatry now clarifies the cellular basis of these volumetric ...

New imaging technique holds promise for speeding MS research

June 12, 2013
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that detects the telltale signs of multiple sclerosis in finer detail than ever before – providing a more ...

Neuroimaging study sheds light on mechanisms of cognitive fatigue in MS

November 1, 2013
A new study by Kessler Foundation scientists sheds light on the mechanisms underlying cognitive fatigue in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Cognitive fatigue is fatigue resulting from mental work rather than from physical ...

Small hippocampus associated with depression in the elderly: Risk factor or shrinkage?

July 19, 2011
Imaging studies have repeatedly found that people with depression have smaller hippocampal volumes than healthy individuals. The hippocampus is a brain region involved in learning and memory, spatial navigation, and the evaluation ...

Modest familial risks for multiple sclerosis

January 22, 2014
Even though multiple sclerosis is largely caused by genetic factors, the risk of patients relatives developing the disease is lower than previously assumed. This is the conclusion of a new population registry-based study, ...

Recommended for you

Brain zaps may help curb tics of Tourette syndrome

January 16, 2018
Electric zaps can help rewire the brains of Tourette syndrome patients, effectively reducing their uncontrollable vocal and motor tics, a new study shows.

A 'touching sight': How babies' brains process touch builds foundations for learning

January 16, 2018
Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby's brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom's face, or the sound of her voice.

Researchers identify protein involved in cocaine addiction

January 16, 2018
Mount Sinai researchers have identified a protein produced by the immune system—granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)—that could be responsible for the development of cocaine addiction.

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

January 16, 2018
Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone – not just creative "geniuses" like Picasso and Steve Jobs – possesses in ...

Neuroscientists suggest a model for how we gain volitional control of what we hold in our minds

January 16, 2018
Working memory is a sort of "mental sketchpad" that allows you to accomplish everyday tasks such as calling in your hungry family's takeout order and finding the bathroom you were just told "will be the third door on the ...

Brain imaging predicts language learning in deaf children

January 15, 2018
In a new international collaborative study between The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, researchers created a machine learning algorithm that uses brain scans to predict ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.