New findings on gender Differences in depression
In the past, it has been shown in various studies that depression occur in women significantly more often than men. American researchers have now found in a scientific investigation, a cause for this gender difference.
More and more people suffer from depression
A report by the world health organization (WHO), according to the number of people is increased with depression in the past few years in the world. Also in the EU, more and more people suffer from mental illness, particularly in older age, as experts reported. Scientific studies show that women are affected by depression more than men. A study provides only an explanation for why this is so.
Women are more affected than men
Depression, the “world’s most common cause of disability”, in women far more often than men, according to the Portal “Medical Nesw Today”.
Worldwide, over 300 million people with depression in life. In the case of young women between the ages of 14 and 25 years of age, the probability of mental disease is more than twice as high as among men of the same age.
Although these differences in later adulthood are less pronounced, show global estimates still have a 1.7-fold increase in the prevalence of depression in women compared to men.
Gender-specific differences manifest themselves in the brain
New research results indicate how gender differences in depression in the brain manifest.
In particular, scientists show how the brain’s response to rewards inflammation affect men and women differently.
The researchers Naomi Eisenberger, a Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, noted in a scientific study, that inflammation lead to in women, but not men, to so-called Anhedonia.
Anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure in activities that used to be fun are made) is considered to be one of the most important characteristics of a Depression.
On a neurological level Anhedonia shows up as decreased activity in the area of reward processing in the brain, called the ventral Striatum.
The results of the study were published in the journal “Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging”.
In the case of the subjects, inflammation was triggered
To reach their conclusions, the researchers administered 115 depression-free study participants (69 of whom were female) to either a low dose of Endotoxins, an inflammation trigger, or a Placebo.
The participants were randomly assigned to either the control / placebo group or the low – dose endotoxin group.
Two hours after administration, the peak of the inflammatory response to the Toxin, subjects were asked to perform a task, you with a financial reward had to be expected.
The participants completed the task in a functional MRI Scanner.
The results showed that the Endotoxin reduced the activity of the reward-processing ventral Striatum. The researchers noted, however, that this effect is difference depending on the gender.
Women with chronic inflammatory diseases are particularly prone to depression
“In particular”, reports Prof. Eisenberger and colleagues, “led to the Endotoxin (vs. Placebo) in female participants decreased [ventral Striatum] activity.”
However, in the case of the male participants, this effect was not observed. This decrease in the activity of the ventral Striatum “was associated with an increase in inflammation in female, but not male participants,” said the researchers.
“This suggests that women with chronic inflammatory diseases are particularly prone to the development of depression, since the sensitivity for rewards decreases,” explains first author Mona Moieni.
“Physicians who treat female patients with inflammatory diseases, should give these patients special attention, as there may be depressive symptoms,” adds Moieni.
According to Prof. Eisenberegr this study is the first showing these gender-specific differences. They could explain why women have a much higher Rate of depression than men. (ad)