Sunday, May 16, 2010

Depression After Heart Attack Tied to Brain Changes

(HealthDay News) -- Persistent depression after a heart attack is associated with changes in the brain, a new study has found.

But more research is needed to determine whether depression causes these changes or vice versa, said the German study authors.

Depression is common after a heart attack and its presence increases the risk of recurrent heart problems and death.

The study included 22 patients who underwent brain scans three months after a heart attack. The researchers looked for cerebral deep white matter changes and structural abnormalities in the parts of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

In addition, the patients were assessed for other heart problems, depression and cardiovascular risk factors.

According to researchers led by Dr. Michael A. Rapp of the department of psychiatry at St. Hedwig's Hospital in Berlin, even after taking into account other existing heart problems, depression severity was associated with changes in the anterior cingulate cortex. Read more...

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