Is major depression a neurologic disorder with psychiatric symptoms?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


In the last decade, multiple investigator groups have identified structural changes of various neuroanatomic structures in patients with idiopathic major depression and bipolar disorders. Using high-resolution MRI of the brain and functional neuroimaging studies (i.e., PET, SPECT), researchers have described decreases in the volume of hippocampal formation, amygdala, entorhinal cortex, various frontal lobe structures, and basal ganglia, in addition to abnormal cerebral blood flow and metabolic activity in these structures as well as in thalamic nuclei. Similar structural and functional changes have been identified in patients with depression associated with a variety of neurologic disorders (i.e., stroke, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer's dementia). In addition, recent data have shown that depression is a risk factor for the development of several neurologic disorders, including epilepsy, stroke, and Parkinson's disease and bears a negative impact on the course and outcome of most neurologic disorders. This article reviews these data and provides evidence that major depressive and bipolar disorders may in fact be neurologic disorders with psychiatric symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-644
Number of pages9
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Basal ganglia
  • Hippocampal atrophy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Poststroke depression
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Volumetric measurements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Is major depression a neurologic disorder with psychiatric symptoms?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this