June 8, 2012
A brain training technique which helps people control activity in a specific part of the brain could help treat depression, a study suggests.
Cardiff University researchers used MRI scanners to show eight people how their brains reacted to positive imagery.
After four sessions of the therapy the participants had seen significant improvements in their depression.
Another eight who were asked to think positively but did not see brain images as they did so showed no change.
The researchers said they believed the MRI scans allowed participants to work out, through trial and error, which sort of positive emotional imagery was most effective.
The technique - known as neurofeedback - has already had some success in helping people with Parkinson’s disease.
But the team acknowledge that further research, involving a larger number of people, is needed to ascertain how effective the therapy is, particularly in the long term.
Prof David Linden, who led the study which was published in the PLoS One journal, said it had the potential to become part of the “treatment package” for depression.
About a fifth of people will develop depression at some point in their lives and a third of those will not respond to standard treatments.
Prof Linden added: “One of the interesting aspects of this technique is that it gives patients the experience of controlling aspects of their own brain activity.
“Many of them were very interested in this new way of engaging with their brains.”
Chris Ames, from the mental health charity Mind, said: “While these initial results are interesting, the research is clearly at an early stage.
“Further research should give a better idea of how beneficial this technique could be as a treatment for depression.”
Copyright © 2012 BBC.
[Image: Coloured magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the head. (via Mail Online)]
The only thing that makes life bearable is the love we share with each other
17 hours ago · 9 notes
I forget love
feeling the emptiness
pushing through me
hard knots and tender hurts
barriers to love
the dead and constricting
being scraped away
like snake skin on black stone
and put on display
so much pain
Breathing the dying breath
of everything unable to live
the only Koan is you and
the obstacle is the path
to remember love
be guided by love
this is the key
don’t loose it