Electroencephalographic measures of regional hemispheric activity in offspring at risk for depressive disorders

Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York, USA.
Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 03/2005; 57(4):328-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2004.11.015
Source: PubMed


Electroencephalographic (EEG) studies have found abnormal regional hemispheric asymmetries in depressive disorders, which have been hypothesized to be vulnerability markers for depression. In a longitudinal high-risk study, resting EEG was measured in primarily adult offspring of depressed or nondepressed probands.
Electroencephalograms from12 homologous sites over each hemisphere (digitally linked-ears reference) were analyzed in right-handed offspring for whom both parents (n = 18), one parent (n = 40), or neither parent (n = 29) had a major depressive disorder (MDD).
Offspring with both parents having MDD showed greater alpha asymmetry at medial sites, with relatively less activity (more alpha) over right central and parietal regions, compared with offspring having one or no parent with MDD. Relatively less left frontal activity at lateral sites was associated with lifetime MDD in offspring but not with parental MDD. Offspring with both parents having a MDD also showed markedly greater anterior-to- posterior increase in alpha with eyes closed compared with those with one or no parent with a MDD.
Alpha asymmetry indicative of right parietotemporal hypoactivity, previously reported for depressed adolescents and adults, and heightened anterior-to-posterior gradient of alpha are present in high-risk offspring having parents concordant for MDD.

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Available from: Craig E Tenke
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    • "Offspring and grandchildren of depressed patients are at increased risk for developing depressive and anxiety disorders (Warner, Mufson, & Weissman, 1995;Weissman, Warner, Wickramaratne, Moreau, & Olfson, 1997;Weissman et al., 2005Weissman et al., , 2006). Both offspring and grandchildren of probands having a MDD showed greater EEG alpha asymmetry, with less activity over right parietal sites, compared to those at low risk (Bruder et al., 2005Bruder et al., , 2007). The alpha asymmetry of high-risk individuals resembles that seen for adults and adolescents having a depressive disorder (Bruder et al., 1997;Henriques & Davidson, 1990;Kentgen et al., 2000;Reid et al., 1998). "
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    • "It is not yet clear to what extent differences in EEG alpha reflect responsivity to antidepressant treatments that is distinct from an underlying general vulnerability to depression or propensity toward recovery. Our separate identification of an association between posterior, condition-dependent alpha and a family history of MDD (Bruder et al., 2005) and responsiveness to antidepressants (Tenke et al., 2011) suggest that prominent EEG alpha may serve as a marker for a cluster of related biological, affective and hedonic predispositions. The same predisposition that presents itself as a vulnerability to MDD may also foretell a positive outcome following treatment with antidepressants, as well as a propensity toward religious or spiritual practice. "
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    • "The difference in parietal asymmetry between high-and low-risk groups did not depend on having a lifetime diagnosis of major depression or anxiety disorder, and prior findings also suggest that this alpha asymmetry is not state-dependent , but may represent a trait marker of vulnerability for depression. Relatively less right parietal activity was found in members of both second and third generations who did not have a depressive disorder but were at high risk [Bruder et al., 2005, 2007]. It was also present in remitted depressed adults who were euthymic during EEG testing [Henriques and Davidson, 1990]. "
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