Brain training technique can treat depression
Researchers say a brain training technique can help depressed people treat their condition by controlling activity in a specific part of the brain.
The Cardiff University team who tested the neurofeedback technique on a group of patients found that the participants’ depression significantly improved after they were shown how their brains reacted to positive imagery.
Scientists used MRI scanners to show eight people how to use trial and error to find out which sort of positive emotional imagery was most effective for them, says the study published in the PLoS One journal.
Neurofeedback has already proved successful in helping people with Parkinson's disease.
According to leader of the study Prof. David Linden, the technique had the potential to become part of the "treatment package" for depression.
"One of the interesting aspects of this technique is that it gives patients the experience of controlling aspects of their own brain activity," he added.
"Many of them were very interested in this new way of engaging with their brains."
About a fifth of people develop depression at some point in their lives and a third of those do not usually respond to standard treatments.
"Further research should give a better idea of how beneficial this technique could be as a treatment for depression," said Chris Ames of the mental health charity Mind.