Lower Hippocampal Volume in Patients Suffering From Depression: A Meta-Analysis

Stephanie CampbellMichael MarriottClaude Nahmias, and Glenda M. MacQueenPublished Online:1 Apr 2004 https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.161.4.598


OBJECTIVE: A number of studies have used magnetic resonance imaging to examine volumetric differences in temporal structures in subjects suffering from major depressive disorder. Studies have reported lower hippocampal and amygdala volume, but results have been inconsistent. The authors were interested, therefore, in examining these studies in the aggregate in order to determine whether hippocampal volume is lower in major depressive disorder. They also examined factors that may contribute to the disparate results in the literature. 

METHOD: A meta-analysis was conducted of studies that used magnetic resonance imaging to assess the volume of the hippocampus and related structures in patients with major depressive disorder. 

RESULTS: Patients were seen to have lower hippocampal volume relative to comparison subjects, detectable if the hippocampus was measured as a discrete structure. 

CONCLUSIONS: Although the effect of major depressive disorder on amygdala volume remains to be conclusively established, inclusion of the amygdala with the hippocampus appears to have decreased the likelihood of detecting volumetric differences in either structure. Slice thickness or other scan parameters did not account for a substantive amount of the variance in results, whereas clinical variables of the populations studied, such as duration of illness or presence of abuse, may account for much of the discrepancy between findings.

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About S. R. Zelenz 119 Articles
S.R. Zelenz has worked in education for 20 years. Working with students from all walks of life, cultures, races, and social diversity, Zelenz’s research in Educational Leadership led to finding a better way to approach learning for students with trauma histories. Many were juvenile offenders, gang members, diagnosed with varying behavioral disorders, or had family histories of violence, murder, or narcissistic parenting. This research could not be effectively accomplished without further understanding: how epigenetic trauma inheritance may be impacting these students; how brain development from trauma may be impacting their behavioral and emotional development; as well as deep understanding of psychology and its varying classifications for behavioral and personality disorders. The goal is to find solutions for changing the conversation and making a real difference for these students. She has also worked with nonprofits of varying focus areas for the last 25 years. Her undergraduate degree in Arts Administration and Music prepared her for managing nonprofits of any size as well as procuring funding so that they can achieve their goals. Pairing her nonprofit background with her education background, she has been able to make a difference for over 200 nonprofits worldwide, written curriculum for schools across the globe, and assisted many arts organizations through performance and management.