Many mental health disorders affect same part of brain
New research led by scientists at Stanford University suggests that different mental health disorders – ranging from depression to schizophrenia – originate from the same regions in the brain.
To conduct their study, the team looked at nearly 200 structural brain imaging studies that involved more than 7,000 people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder or anxiety, as well as some 8,500 healthy individuals. When they compared the findings from different psychiatric disorders, they found that most of the disorders were linked to gray matter loss in a network of three brain regions involved in higher cognitive functions, such as self-control and certain types of memory.
This region of the brain is linked to executive functioning--how well a person functions in daily life, such as holding down a job, maintaining a relationship and not regularly acting on impulses.
The team notes that because many psychiatric disorders share the same structural root, it may be possible to administer treatments from one disorder to another. Future research in this area will focus on whether brain activity is also similar across different mental health disorders.