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Neuroimage. 2002 Jul;16(3 Pt 1):781-7.

Normalization of frontal cerebral perfusion in remitted elderly major depression: a 12-month follow-up SPECT study.

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Clinical Institute of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain.


We examined global and regional cerebral blood flow abnormalities in a group of unmedicated nondemented elderly late-onset unipolar major depressed patients in acute depression and in remission (after a 12-month follow-up period). 35 somatic treatment remitter patients over the age of 60 years and 20 sex-, age-, and vascular risk factor-matched healthy controls were imaged with single photon emission computed tomography, using technetium-99m hexamethylpropylene amine oxime as a tracer. In depression, the depressed group had significantly lower uptake in the left anterior frontal region than the control group. In remission, the left frontal cerebral perfusion abnormalities disappeared, and there were no significant differences in uptake between controls and patients. No significant correlations were found between baseline clinical characteristics of patients and their regional cerebral perfusion at baseline or after a 12-month follow-up. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that certain neuroanatomic regions of the central nervous system may be functionally and reversibly involved in unipolar major depression, particularly in the late-onset subgroup.

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