Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Gibb’

Emerging research suggests pupil dilation in children of depressed mothers when seeing an emotional image can help predict his or her risk of depression over the next two years.

Dr. Brandon Gibb, a professor of psychology at Binghamton University in New York, said the new findings suggest physiological reactivity to sad stimuli can be a potential biomarker of depression risk for some kids.

An important aspect of this finding is that pupillometry is an inexpensive tool that could be administered in family practice or pediatricians’ offices.

The simple test can help identify which children of depressed mothers are at highest risk for developing depression themselves.

“We think this line of research could eventually lead to universal screenings in pediatricians’ offices to assess future depression risk in kids,” said Gibb.

Gibb recruited children whose mothers had a history of major depressive disorder and measured their pupil dilation as they viewed angry, happy, and sad faces.

Follow-up assessments occurred over the next two years, during which structured interviews were used to assess for the children’s level of depressive symptoms, as well as the onset of depressive diagnoses.

Researchers found that a child’s reaction to faces can help predict the risk of developing short-term depression.

Specifically, children exhibiting relatively greater pupil dilation to sad faces experienced higher levels of depressive symptoms during the follow-up period. They also displayed a shorter time to the onset of a clinically significant depressive episode.

Interestingly, the type of emotions displayed by faces were a significant predictor of future depression. That is, the findings were specific to children’s pupil responses to sad faces and were not observed for children’s pupillary reactivity to angry or happy faces.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2015/07/09/new-predictive-test-for-childhood-depression/86632.html

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Up to 80 percent of individuals with a past history of depression will get depressed again in the future. However, little is known about the specific factors that put these people at risk. New research suggests that it may be due to the things you pay attention to in your life.

Researchers at Binghamton University recruited 160 women—60 with a past history of depression, 100 with no history of depression. They showed each woman a series of two faces, one with a neutral expression and the other with either an angry, sad or happy expression. Using eye-tracking, they found that women with a past history of depression paid more attention to the angry faces. More importantly, among women with a history of prior depression, those who tended to look the most at the angry faces were at greatest risk for developing depression again over the next two years.

“If you’re walking around day to day, your attention will just be drawn to certain things and you’ll tend to look at some things more than others. What we showed is if your attention is drawn to people who appear to be angry with you or critical of you, then you’re at risk for depression,” said Brandon Gibb, professor of psychology at Binghamton University and director of the Mood Disorders Institute and Center for Affective Science.

“I think the most interesting thing about this is that we followed these women for two years, and the women who are paying attention to angry faces are the most likely to become depressed again, and they become depressed in the

shortest amount of time. So they’re at greatest risk,” said graduate student and lead author of the study Mary Woody. “We might be able to identify women who are at greatest risk for future depression just by something as simple as how they pay attention to different emotional expressions in their world.”

To address these types of attentional biases, computer programs and games are being used to retrain peoples’ attention. This approach has shown promise in the treatment of anxiety and is now being tested as a treatment for depression. Woody said that, by showing the important role that attentional biases play in depression risk, this new research highlights the promise of these types of attention retraining programs.

“It’s a very important first step in developing a new line of treatment for people who are at risk for depression and for who currently have depression,” Woody said.

“Some people might be able to use this instead of traditional therapy or could use it as an adjunct to traditional treatment,” Gibb added.
The study, “Selective Attention toward Angry Faces and Risk for Major Depressive Disorder in Women: Converging Evidence from Retrospective and Prospective Analyses,” was published in Clinical Psychological Science.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-06-attention-angry-future-depression.html