‘Emotional’ brain circuit study is the first to use MRI to track depression

mri-depressionIt has been long suspected that mothers can ‘pass on’ depression to their daughters.

Now scientists have pinpointed a circuit in the brain involved in regulating emotion and mood disorders, which is handed down through the female line of families.

Researchers believe the wiring in a key brain structure, known as the corticolimbic system, may be an inherited factor contributing to depression.

he brain circuits involved are less likely to pass from mothers to sons or from fathers to children of either gender, according to a study of 35 families by the University of California, San Francisco.

While previous research has identified a strong association between the risk of depression in mothers and their daughters, this is the first evidence a brain structure implicated in depression may be inherited.

Lead scientist Fumiko Hoeft, associate professor of psychiatry at the university, said: ‘The finding does not mean that mothers are necessarily responsible for their daughters’ depression.

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