Speed Reads

Science!

Study finds that antidepressants quickly change the brain's structure

A new study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology found that antidepressants work faster than previously thought, despite the fact that it usually takes patients at least two weeks to report any changes in mood.

More than one in 10 U.S. adults use SSRIs, which block the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain; commonly prescribed SSRIs include Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, and Paxil. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany used an MRI machine to look at the gray matter of participants who took SSRIs and those who didn't, and using the images to create 3D maps of certain neural connections.

One thing that surprised the researchers was seeing the changes to the brain that took place after just one dose. "What was really surprising was that the entire brain would light up after only three hours," neuroscientist Dr. Julia Sacher told the Los Angeles Times. "We didn't expect that."

Having this information could help researchers determine if a brain scan could aid psychiatrists in differentiating between patients who do respond to SSRIs and those who don't. Read more about the study at the Los Angeles Times.