January 02, 2018
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Structural abnormalities found in reward regions in older individuals with MDD

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Volume size of the left putamen was greater in older adult healthy controls compared with older adults with major depressive disorder, according to new study results.

Researchers used baseline data from the Neurocognitive Outcomes of Depression in the Elderly study to examine the sizes of the putamen and caudate nucleus in older adults.

The study included 226 individuals with depression and 134 controls. The study also included analysis comparing 133 melancholic depressed participants and 93 nonmelancholic depressed participants. The researchers conducted a group-by-age assessment of the study population.

No significant differences in the caudate nucleus were found between groups, according to the results.

Group-by-age interaction analysis showed that volume size of the left putamen was greater among healthy controls compared with participants with depression (P = .033), but only for those aged 60 to 65 years. As the age of participants increased to 66 to 74 years and 75 years and older, the differences between groups in volume size of the left putamen decreased and were not significant.

Researchers also observed a smaller left putamen among melancholic depressed participants compared with the nonmelancholic depressed participants (P = .004). Ths finding trends toward significance in a group-by-age analysis (P = .06).

A smaller left and right putamen were associated with anhedonia symptoms, the researchers added.

“Structural abnormalities in reward regions may underlie the anhedonic phenotype,” they concluded. “Volume loss associated with MDD may attenuate in older age.” – by Rob Volansky

Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.