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Neuroimaging and Depression: Current Status and Unresolved Issues, by Gotlib and Hamilton

01/04/2008 (Aprox)


While the scientific literature invariably underlines progress in knowledge of the brain structures said to “subserve” or be involved in depression, it also acknowledges persistent ignorance about causality and localization. In 2008, for example, an article in Current Directions in Psychological Science reviewed the status and unresolved issues in neuroimaging and depression.


It summarized neurocorrelational research, assessing the role of several brain structures in major depression, and concluded that heightened activity in the limbic structures engaged in emotional experience and expression dampens activation in the dorsal cortical structures involved in affect regulation. The article devoted different sections to distinct structures or systems (the amygdala, the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and pointed out that identifying “the patterns of functional connectivity that characterize the depressive neural network” was still a challenge for future work (Gotlib and Hamilton 2008, 161).

As in earlier literature, the findings discussed in the 2008 Current Directions article “underscore the fact that ‘depression’ refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders that are not carved at their neurobiological joints in DSM-IV”; hence the desire to define depression subtypes and symptom profiles “that are related systematically to neural functional and structural abnormalities” (162). 

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

Ian H. Gotlib is a psychologist at Stanford University. You can find more information about him else...
The source of the image above is also a very interesting 2018 interview with Dr. Gotlib. Read on:

Separation from parents removes children’s most important protection and generates a new trauma, Sta...

Ian H. Gotlib's co-author, Paul J. Hamilton, is a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University. Find him at the University website: 

Paul Hamilton, PhD

To read the full article cited by Vidal and Ortega, click below:Gotlib, Ian, and Paul J. Hamilton. 2008. “Neuroimaging and Depression: Current Status and Unresolved...

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Published in 6/02/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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