I found this new research to be quite interesting. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord become damaged. Depression has been found to be present in nearly 50% of MS sufferers.
The researchers also found a relationship atrophy of the hippocampus and hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. It is believed that the dysregulation of the HPA axis may play a role in the atrophy of the hippocampus and cause depression.
“Depression is one of the most common symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis,” Gold said. “It impacts cognitive function, quality of life, work performance and treatment compliance. Worst of all, it’s also one of the strongest predictors of suicide.”
The researchers were able to come to these conclusions by examining three regions of the hippocampus in MS patients and comparing them to healthy patients without MS. Further the researches measured cortisol levels which is a stress hormone produced by the HPA axis.
Gold et al.Smaller Cornu Ammonis 2-3/Dentate Gyrus Volumes and Elevated Cortisol in Multiple Sclerosis Patients with Depressive Symptoms. Biological Psychiatry, 2010.