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Neurobiol Aging. 1991 May-Jun;12(3):245-7.

Subcortical hyperintensities on brain magnetic resonance imaging: a comparison between late age onset and early onset elderly depressed subjects.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110.


Subcortical structural changes have been reported to occur in some elderly subjects with late age onset depression. Given the association between diseases affecting subcortical structures and affective disorders, this suggests that these structural changes may be involved in the etiology of late age onset depression in some patients. With the advent of Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), "in vivo" analysis of these subcortical structures is now possible. The authors report a higher occurrence of caudate (60% vs. 11%) and large deep white matter hyperintensities (60% vs. 11%) in late age onset elderly depressed subjects compared with early onset elderly depressed subjects. These results suggest that late age onset depression may be mediated by caudate and white matter structural changes in some patients.

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