A new study on brain activity has allowed scientists to predict the body's response to antidepressants. And indirectly predict the effectiveness of their use. The work was carried out within the framework of the EMBARC project (Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care) to develop new diagnostic methods.
The EEG study involved 300 depressive disorder patients who were randomly assigned to either an 8-week course of the antidepressant sertraline hydrochloride or placebo. EEG recordings were conducted at regular intervals throughout the course of treatment, with the main focus on activities in the rostral anterior cerebral cortex. It is clear from previous studies that this is where the most striking response of the nervous system to antidepressants is observed.
EEG data formed the basis of the personal profile of patients, and after analyzing them, doctors made predictions of a particular person's response to an antidepressant, which corresponded to clinical observations. The difference is in the time to get the results. When studying the EEG, a few weeks were enough to make a reliable conclusion about whether the prescribed drug would be effective. And this gives a chance to timely adjust the course of treatment and minimize risks.
EEG acts as a new, curious biomarker of the patient's condition, which has not previously been used to establish a diagnosis in the treatment of mental disorders. This is the essence of the EMBARC project - to find and test such biomarkers that will allow creating new, effective diagnostic methods. And they will make it possible to predict in advance the reaction of people to drugs, drugs, psychotherapy and other types of influence in order to minimize the risk of medical error when choosing a treatment method.