A new UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute study shows for the first time that measurable changes in the front of the brain can predict the effectiveness of an antidepressant within days of treatment — weeks before a patient begins to feel better.
Using quantitative EEG, a non-invasive computerized measurement of brain wave patterns, the researchers discovered that specific changes in brain-wave activity precede clinical changes brought on by medication. The new findings, published in the July edition of the peer-reviewed journal Neuropsychopharmacology, could lead to treatment programs that help depression patients feel better faster by cutting evaluation periods from weeks to days. The findings also could aid in the development of new medications.
"Up to 40 percent of depressed patients do not respond to the first medication they try. Since it takes several weeks for an effective treatment to produce clear improvement, doctors often wait six to 12 weeks to decide that a particular medication just isnt right for that patient and move on to another treatment," said Dr. Ian A. Cook, a researcher at the institutes Quantitative EEG Laboratory and lead author of the study.
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