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Depression Altered Chester Bennington's Brain Structure? Study Explains

by John Raphael / Jul 22, 2017 11:50 AM EDT
A bottle of anti-depressant pills named Paxil is shown in Miami, Florida, on March 23, 2004.

The recent death of Linkin Park's lead singer Chester Bennington brought back depression and suicide into the limelight. Depression, one of the leading cause of disability in the world, is a serious mental health condition that affects people in different stature.

A new study from the University of Edinburgh revealed that depression could alter the brain's structure. The study published in the journal Scientific Reports showed that depression could change the parts of the brain known as white matter, a key component of the brain's wiring.

For the study, the researchers measured the white matter integrity and subcortical grey matter volume of 3461 people included in the UK Biobank Imaging study. Using a cutting-edge technique known as diffusion tensor imaging, the researchers were able to map out the structure of white matter.

The researchers did not find any significant differences between the subcortical grey matter of depressed and healthy individuals. However, they found significant reductions in the global white matter integrity of people suffering from depression.

White matter, which is considered as a key component of the brain's wiring, contains fibre tracts that enable the communication between brain cells through electrical signals, according to the official website of The University of Edinbugh. Alterations in white matter integrity have been associated to problems with emotion processing and thinking skills.

With the results of the study, the researchers now plan to determine how the absence of changes in the brain's white matter relates to better protection distress and low mood. The study is a part of Stratifying Resilience and Depression Longitudinally (STRADL), a Wellcome Trust initiative that aims to identify subtypes of depression and risk factors.

South Korea has the second highest suicide rate in the world. Depression has been a long problem in the country where over two million people are living with depression annually. 

Usual symptoms of depression include low mood, exhaustion and feelings of emptiness. People suffering from depression were also more likely to have suicidal ideation.

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