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Semin Clin Neuropsychiatry. 2001 Apr;6(2):113-20.

Prefrontal changes and treatment response prediction in depression.

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Quantitative EEG Laboratory and Clinical Neurophysiology Program, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


A continuing challenge in the treatment of depression is how to determine whether an effective drug has been selected for a particular patient, given that individuals will respond to some antidepressants but not others. The factors that contribute to response for each person have been examined from a variety of perspectives, both psychological and physiological. Advances in neuroimaging and in quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) have made it possible to examine features of brain activity that are associated with response. A new QEEG measure, cordance, is correlated with regional cortical perfusion, and has been used with retrospective and prospective studies to evaluate specific findings that are predictive of clinical response in major depression. We present here a series of depressed subjects treated with antidepressants of different classes; decreases in prefrontal activity were seen as early as 48 hours into treatment in responders and were absent in nonresponders. These findings suggest a role for the prefrontal region in mediating response to medications with different mechanisms of action and raise the possibility of using new QEEG measures to identify changes in brain activity that are predictive of clinical outcome from antidepressant treatment.

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