In appearance, the human brain’s outermost layer, called the cortex, is a maze of tissue folds. The peaks or raised surfaces of these folds, called gyri, play an important role in the proper functioning of the brain. Improper gyrification-; or the development of gyri-; has been implicated in various neurological disorders, one of them being the debilitating and widespread mental illness major depressive disorder (MDD). Although prior studies have shown that abnormal cortical folding patterns are associated with MDD, a reliable indicator has so far remained out of reach.
Now, in a positive turn of events, researchers led by Professor Byung-Joo Ham and Associate Professor Kyu-Man Han from Korea University Medicine have reported the successful identification of a neuroimaging-based biomarker for MDD in a recent study published on 8 May 2023 in Psychological Medicine. Talking about the unique finding that sets apart their study from the previous ones, Prof. Ham explains, “Our first-of-its-kind study investigated the association of MDD with the local gyrification index or LGI of multiple cortical regions at the whole-brain level and the association of LGI with the clinical characteristics of MDD.”
A groundbreaking study has uncovered a promising new biomarker for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), offering hope for improved diagnosis and treatment of this debilitating condition. Researchers have identified a specific protein, BDNF, that may serve as a reliable indicator of MDD. This finding holds significant potential for early detection, personalized therapies, and enhanced patient outcomes. Major Depressive Disorder affects millions of individuals worldwide, impairing their daily functioning and overall quality of life. Recognizing the urgent need for effective interventions, experts have intensified efforts to unravel the complex mechanisms underlying depression. By pinpointing BDNF as a potential biomarker, this study represents a critical step toward better understanding and managing MDD.
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