Research on Post-Traumatic Depression

Dr. Amy Wagner talks about current research on depression — how it can affect cognition, which in turn can affect how people recover from TBI.

See "The Pathology of TBI-Related Seizures," also with Dr. Amy Wagner.

So depression is another common complication after a brain injury. It's the most common mood disorder that occurs after brain injury. And so really for rehab physicians and other caregivers and healthcare practitioners, dealing with people who've had brain injury it's a good idea to keep this in mind because depression, whether it's in the setting of brain injury or not, can have an important effect on cognition, and that obviously has implications for how people recover after their injury. Neurotransmitters are an important component of all elements of brain functioning including the--we think--the development of post-traumatic depression. And so, we are seeing some genetic susceptibility markers involving neurotransmitter systems that have previously been implicated in depression, and also in other types of brain chemicals called neurotrophins, and the ability that neurotrophins might have to help resist the development of depression after brain injury. And what we find very intriguing about the neurotrophin connection to depression is that neurotrophins can be very easily manipulated by environment--your environment, and activity. So exercise is a potent stimulator of neurotrophins. And so as a rehab physician looking at chemicals that can be impacted by activity, by exercise, are very encouraging for us because we would hope to be able to identify treatment strategies that might actually manipulate the physiology in a positive way to help either prevent the development or at least lessen the severity of depression that people do go through often after their injury.
Posted on BrainLine February 7, 2013.

Produced by Brian King, Vicky Youcha, and Lara Collins, BrainLine.