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    ABSTRACT: 1. Structural neuropathologic abnormalities have been associated with severe psychiatric illnesses, including bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. In the latter, ventricular enlargement has been variably associated with symptom severity and poor treatment response. In patients with severe depressive disorders, the relationship between cortical and subcortical pathology and ventricle enlargement, symptom severity, and response to treatment is far from clear. 2. The present study investigated the relationship between structural CNS pathology, symptom severity and treatment response in patients undergoing ECT. It was hypothesized that patients with greater neuroanatomic abnormalities would demonstrate greater initial symptom severity and poorer response to ECT. 3. The subjects were 57 patients with unipolar or bipolar depression admitted for ECT treatment. Symptom severity was quantified using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HRSD) at baseline and post-ECT. 4. Lateral and third ventricle-brain ratio (LVBR, 3VBR) were determined from CT scans and cortical atrophy was rated by a faculty neuroradiologist. 5. Contrary to our first hypothesis, structural pathology was not associated with baseline symptom severity. In terms of treatment response, the number of treatments required to achieve benefit was correlated with larger 3VBR; CT variables were not related to total post-treatment or change in HRSD score. Third ventricle enlargement may be an index of generalized pathology or regional brainstem abnormalities that influence ECT response rate by limiting individual seizure efficacy or neurochemical responsiveness, thereby necessitating a greater number of ECT treatments, without significant impact on overall response.
    Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 12/1997; 21(8):1339-52. DOI:10.1016/S0278-5846(97)00168-1 · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence is mounting linking cerebrovascular disease with the development of major depression in the elderly. Lesions in both white and gray matter have been associated with geriatric depression. In addition, the literature on poststroke depression suggests that left-sided lesions are associated with depression. We sought to examine the severity and location of white- and gray-matter lesions in a group of elderly depressives and nondepressed control subjects. 115 depressed patients (69 with late onset, 46 with early onset) and 37 controls, all over age 45, received magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Semiquantitative severity ratings and quantitative measurements of number and size of MRI hyperintensities were obtained, and groups were compared using Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel (CMH) analyses and repeated-measures analyses of covariance adjusting for age. Late-onset depressed patients had more severe hyperintensity ratings in deep white matter than early-onset patients and controls. Late- and early-onset patients had more severe subcortical gray-matter hyperintensities (particularly in the putamen) compared with controls. Left-sided white-matter lesions were significantly associated with older age of depression onset, whereas right-anterior white matter and left-subcortical lesions (particularly in the putamen) were associated with melancholia in the depressed group. These findings extend previous reports of an association between cerebrovascular disease and depression, as well as recent studies showing lateralized lesion involvement in geriatric depression. Such vascular pathology may disrupt neural pathways involved in affective processing and the maintenance of a normal mood and psychomotor state.
    Journal of Psychosomatic Research 09/2002; 53(2):665-76. DOI:10.1016/S0022-3999(02)00425-7 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and high-resolution computed tomography (CT), we identified changes in the subcortical white matter in 44 of 67 elderly depressed inpatients (66%) referred for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This "leukoencephalopathy" was frequently associated with other structural brain changes, including cortical atrophy, lateral ventricular enlargement, and lacunar infarctions of the basal ganglia and thalamus. Many (58%) of the patients had developed late-onset depressive disorders, and the majority (86%) had been refractory to and/or intolerant of antidepressant drug therapy. Nevertheless, all but 1 of the 44 patients subsequently responded to a course of ECT, which in general was well tolerated. Although the precise etiology of the leukoencephalopathy remains unclear, clinical data suggest that it may result from arteriosclerotic disease of the medullary arteries that supply the subcortical brain regions. Several lines of evidence suggest that leukoencephalopathy may have implications for the pathophysiology of depressive illness, at least in some elderly patients.
    Biological Psychiatry 07/1988; 24(2):143-61. DOI:10.1016/0006-3223(88)90270-3 · 9.47 Impact Factor