What could be the Link Between Multiple sclerosis and Depression


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder that disrupts communication between neurons due to inflammation, which leads to the destruction of the myelin sheaths.

These myelin sheaths are fatty-like layers that serve as protective covers for nerve cells and enable communication between these neurons. As a result of this breakdown in communication, people living with MS may experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Neural circuits associated with depression are impacted by lesions caused by multiple sclerosis (MS). A recent study employed a mapping technique to examine if there was a relationship between MS lesions and these circuits.

The researchers found that MS lesions affected the same areas of the brain linked to depression.

For a new study, researchers investigated the link between multiple sclerosis (MS) and symptoms of depression. The data included information on 281 people with MS, including self-reported depression scores, disability levels, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. The findings provide further evidence of the connection between MS and emotional wellbeing issues such as depression.

Researchers used a technique called lesion network mapping to examine the prevalence of depression among people with multiple sclerosis.

By comparing MRI images of people with MS to a preexisting database of neural connections from 1,000 other individuals, they were able to identify neural circuits linked to depression. Their findings show that participants with MS who had lesions in these particular neural circuits tended to have higher scores on tests assessing depressive symptoms compared to participants with lesions located elsewhere.

Recent studies have highlighted the connection between multiple sclerosis (MS) and depression. It has been found that lesions associated with MS are connected to the same neural pathways as those affected by stroke, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and deep brain stimulation (DBS). These treatments, which can modify depressive symptoms, provide insight into how depression is linked to MS.

Dr. Barbara Giesser, neurologist and MS specialist at Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, states that her recent study has found a link between multiple sclerosis (MS) depression and structural brain lesions present in the same locations as those of patients with stroke or head injury-related depression.

This builds upon earlier findings that structural brain damage may contribute to depressive symptoms in people with MS.

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are especially susceptible to experiencing depression. Depression for those affected by MS is typically due to a combination of structural damage in the brain, any genetic predispositions, and environmental stressors related to their illness. Additionally, certain medications prescribed to treat MS can also result in depressive feelings.

Despite the encouraging research evidence, more investigation is still needed before the use of brain stimulation for addressing depression in those with multiple sclerosis (MS) becomes a widespread practice. This technique might be useful for treating MS-related depression, but further study is still needed to fully understand its efficacy. Depression usually relates to an extensive network of connections within the brain, and thus cannot be singled out to one particular area– hence making it quite difficult to replicate in a clinical setting. As such, he suggests exploring transcranial magnetic stimulation as an alternative treatment option for tackling MS-induced depression.