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Anxiety twinned with depression causes sufferers’ brains to swell ‘significantly’
The brains of people suffering from the twin scourges of anxiety and depression have been found to swell dramatically. Experts say the extraordinary activity may mask part of the damage depression can cause.
Researchers, investigating the effects of depression and anxiety on the volume of people’s brains, have made the discovery that depression by itself causes the brain to shrink. However, when paired with anxiety, as is often the case, the disorder causes one area of the brain to become “significantly” larger.
Interestingly, two different areas of the brain are affected by the problems. The scientists found that people who have depression alone have lower brain volumes in many areas of the brain, with the hippocampus, the part of the brain linked to memory and learning, particularly affected.
Experts say that’s even more relevant later in life, because a smaller hippocampus is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, and may accelerate the development of dementia.