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Positive images and feedback help depression patients: Study

Written by: QMI Agency
Jun. 8, 2012

(Shutterstock)


A technique that helps people control activity in a specific part of the brain can help ease depression, British researchers have found.

In the study, eight patients with depression were shown pictures that were positive, negative and neutral in nature, while they were undergoing an MRI scan. This helped researchers identify the areas in the brain that were processing the positive emotions.

The patients were then told to increase the activity in this area of their brain by looking at images that gave them positive emotions. During the test, the patients were given feedback about how well they were doing through a technology called neurofeedback.

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David Linden of Cardiff University said this is the first time neurofeedback has been used to treat depression.

Using this technique, the researchers found all patients were able to control the activity in the targeted emotion networks. Their depression improved significantly after the interventions. Their medication dose wasn't changed during the study.

"The findings of the initial pilot study are preliminary and further research is required to assess the possible clinical benefits to patients. We do not expect this to become a standalone treatment tool, but rather a potential part of comprehensive treatment packages," Linden said in a release about the study.

The research was published in the journal PLoS ONE.

 

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