5 Amazing Health Benefits of Eggplant You May Have Not Heard Before

Commonly known as aubergine in England and brinjalin India, eggplant is a glossy, teardrop-shaped vegetable belonging to the nightshade botanical family. It is the same purple variety found across the globe but is referred to as an eggplant mostly in the United States. The eggplant is native to a number of countries stretching from India to Burma and extending to China.

While the eggplant is assumed to be a vegetable, it is actually a fruit that is cooked as a vegetable or a savoury dish. Thus biologically, it can be termed as a fruit and in terms of cooking it is used a vegetable. With a slightly bitter and acidic taste which may not be preferred by many, it is essential to consider the impressive health benefits that eggplant offers.

It is packed with vitamins like vitamin C, K and B6 and an ample amount of potassium, manganese and fiber. Even the leaves and roots of the plant are widely used for treating various infections and to heal wounds. Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood suggests several benefits that come along with eggplants that no one told you yet.

5 Amazing Health Benefits of Eggplant You May Have Not Heard Before

1. Heart friendly: A pigment present in eggplant known as anthocyanins helps strengthen the functioning of the heart. It also help to bring down the “bad” cholesterol and acts as a powerful antioxidant.

heartPhoto Credit: Istock

2. Acts as a natural laxative: Rich in fiber, eggplants improve the functions of the digestive system by acting as a natural laxative. It provides fiber, in addition to water and antioxidants which can prevent the risk of inflammation in the digestive system and also helps in relieving constipation.

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3. Weight loss: Saponin in the eggplant prevents fat accumulation and absorption in the body and thus, aids the process of losing weight. While its nutrient content is extremely high, eggplant low on carbohydrates and calories and can easily fit into your weight loss diet.

weight loss measuresPhoto Credit: Istock

4. Rich in antioxidants: Anthocyanins that impart the deep purple colour to eggplants help in fighting free radicals in the body preventing the growth of cancer cells as well as other disease causing bacteria.

 

5. Helps prevent anemia: A rich source of iron, eggplants increase the production of red blood cells in the body and thus help fight anemia or iron deficiency which is common in females.

 

Now that you know all the health benefits of eating eggplants regularly, don’t shy away from this wonderful vegetable. There are several ways in which they can be made appealing and easier to consume for those who detest eating them. For instance, adding it to a simple sandwich or a whole grain burger does wonders. You can toss them with pasta or bake with cheese and other vegetables. Smokey, roasted eggplants are lovely with some light sauce. These are just few options to get you going.

Long Work Hours May Pose Heart Risk, Here Are 6 Foods Which Can Help Cut Down Stress

A recent study published in the European Heart Journal, comes as a wake-up call to all those who have been working extra hours at their workplace. As per the British study, spending long hours at work may increase the risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm — known as atrial fibrillation — as well as contribute to the development of stroke and heart failure, according to a study.

 

The study compared to people who worked a normal week of between 35-40 hours and those who worked 55 hours or more were approximately 40 per cent more likely to develop atrial fibrillation.

 Long Work Hours May Pose Heart Risk, Here Are 6 Foods Which Can Help Cut Down Stress

 

Mika Kivimaki, Professor at the University College London, “A 40 per cent increased extra risk is an important hazard for people who already have a high overall risk of cardiovascular disease due to other risk factors such as older age, male sex, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, smoking and physical inactivity or living with an established cardiovascular disease”

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“This could be one of the mechanisms that explain the previously observed increased risk of stroke among those working long hours. Atrial fibrillation is known to contribute to the development of stroke, but also other adverse health outcomes such as heart failure and stroke-related dementia,” Kivimaki added.

 

Researchers analysed data from 85,494 men and women from the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Finland who took part in one of eight studies in these countries. During the ten-year follow-up period, the researchers found 1,061 new cases of atrial fibrillation. This gave an incidence rate of 12.4 per 1,000 people in the study, but among the 4,484 people working 55 hours or more, the incidence was 17.6 per 1,000.

 

Long work hours has long been co-linked with stress and anxiety, this stress not only takes a toll on your overall behavior and social life but also poses a major threat to the heart health. Here are some foods which can help you cut down stress.

 

1. Oats: Mornings are the most stressful hours of the day. Start your day on a stress-free note. A bowl of oats and some fresh fruits finished off with a drop of honey, boosts positive energy as it is considered to be a serotonin enhancer, a chemical that makes you happy.

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2. Lentils: Lentils are packed with all types of Vitamin B, nature’s own happy pill. It helps reduce tiredness and fatigue. Lentils also stabilize the blood sugar and fire-up your energy levels.

3. Banana: Bananas are rich in Vitamin C which is a great stress-fighting nutrient. It helps repair cell damage caused due to stress. Also, the potassium that it contains helps in maintaining healthy heart muscles.

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4. Orange Juice: According to the book, ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’ by Dr. Vasant Lad, For anxiety accompanied by a fast heart rate, a cup of orange juice with 1 teaspoon of honey and a pinch of nutmeg powder can prove to be effective.

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5. Brahmi: The wonder herb of Ayurveda, should be your next resort to beat stress, According to ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’ by Dr. Vasant Lad, drinking a tea of herbs like Brahmi and Ashwagandha can help cut down on fear, anxiety and nervousness.

 

6. Coconut: The water, the flesh, the oil or the butter, all of the coconut is trending and for good reason. Coconuts contain medium chain fats that improve our metal health and infuse positive energy. The scent of the coconut is known

Yoga May Prevent Memory Loss in Elderly Women,These 9 Memory Boosting Foods May Help Too

Adding to the long tailing benefits of practicing yoga is the new study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, which suggests, that those who have been practicing Yoga for a long time may have an edge as far as cognitive development in old age is concerned.

 

According to the study, that long term yoga could change the structure of your brain and protect cognitive decline and memory loss in old age, especially amongst female yoga practitioners-Yoginis. The researchers found that the elderly “yoginis” have greater cortical thickness in the left prefrontal cortex, in brain areas associated with cerebral functions like attention and memory.

 

The structure and functionality of the brain alters as we grow old which often leads to cognitive decline, including impaired memory and attention. One such change in the brain is largely attributed the cerebral cortex becoming thinner, which scientists have shown is correlated with cognitive decline

 

Elisa Kozasa of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil, involved in the study, explained just as our muscles, the brain develops through training.

 

She said, “Like any contemplative practice, yoga has a cognitive component in which attention and concentration are important,”

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The researchers wanted to examine if elderly long-term yoga practitioners had any differences in terms of brain structure compared with healthy elderly people who had never practiced yoga.For the study,they recruited a small group of female yoga practitioners or yoginis who had practiced yoga at least twice a week for a minimum of eight years, although the group had an average of nearly 15 years of yoga practice.

 

The researchers then compared the yoginis with another group of healthy women who had never practiced yoga, contemplative or meditative practices, but hared same levels of physical activity, belonging to the same age group. (around 60)

 

The team scanned the participants’ brains using magnetic resonance imaging to see if there were any differences in brain structure. “We found greater thickness in the left prefrontal cortex in the yoginis, in brain regions associated with cognitive functions such as attention and memory,” Rui Afonso from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo added.

 

Dip in memory in old age is natural while physical activity and contemplative practices like yoga can help Memory superfoods such as antioxidant-rich, colorful fruits, green leafy vegetables and whole grains which protect your brain from harmful free radicals, can help immensely in memory retention. Here are some food which can work wonders for memory and cognitive development as a whole.

  • Vitamin C and B: Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, is associated with mental agility, whereas Vitamin B is known to guard against age-related brain shrinkage and cognitive impairment. Load up on blackcurrants, fish, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, peanuts, sesame seeds and eggs to rev up your brain power.
  • Nuts and Seeds: A handful of seeds and nuts may help improve your memory power significantly. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc that play a great role in sharpening your memory. Brain-shaped walnuts are a good source of omega-3 and other essential nutrients crucial for brain functioning and memory skills. Sunflower seeds are good sources of Vitamin E. Even peanuts are packed with vitamin E, a potent antioxidant. Almonds and hazelnuts also help boost memory.
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  •  Berries: Blueberries are the top source of substances called anthocyanins which are brain-boosting antioxidants. Eating blueberries daily can help combat against the onset of short term memory loss. Even strawberries, when consumed regularly can help delay age-related memory decline.
  • Green Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, collard greens, spinach – all green vegetables are full of iron, Vitamin E, K and B9 (folate), and phytonutrients like vitamin C which are extremely important for brain cell development. Vitamin K is known to be helpful in cognitive enhancement and increasing mental alertness.
  • Avocados: Enriched with Vitamin E, avocados are loaded with antioxidants which help in keeping the brain healthy and alert. Creamy avocados are also associated with lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s.
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  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene which acts against brain cell degeneration and aids in the maintenance and production of new brain cells.
  •  Whole Grains: Whole grains are considered to be the powerhouse of energy and help you focus better. On consuming fiber-rich whole grains, energy is released in the body in the form of sugar which assists the brain in functioning properly, keeping us alert.
  • Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids as well as DHA and EPA are essential for healthy brain functioning as well as for healthy brain neurons. Include salmon, mackerel, tuna and other fish in your diet. Vegetarian? You can substitute with soybean oil and flaxseed oil.
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  • Ashwagandha: a go-to choice in Ayurvedic medicine, is known for promoting memory since it helps prevent nerve cell damage. Dr Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager at Baidyanath says, “Ashwagandha can be taken in the form of powder or tablet. It also improves the brain’s memory functions like attention and concentration, hence helping with the symptoms of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases

Caffeine May Improve Breathing Ability and Lung Function in Premature Babies: Study

In the time when nutritionists and experts are debating how much of coffee in a day is good or bad, a recent Australian based study has demonstrated that a limited caffeine intake by premature babies may improve their lung function in later life.

 

The study shows that caffeine acts as respiratory stimulant that may improve short-term breathing rates in infants. In the study a regulated portion of caffeine, helped them perform slightly better in tests that measure their ability to breathe out later in life. The findings also found that the infants were also significantly better at exhaling during a forced breath.

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In the study Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital doctors examined the development of over 140 premature babies (under ten days), half of whom were given a dose of caffeine once a day, over 11 years, and half of them were given a placebo. The trial participants were checked at 18 months and five years, with the group that received caffeine found to have a better breathing ability at the age of 11, than the other group. The caffeine was given to the infants with milk through a tube or as an injection, once daily.

 

Lead author of the study, Dr Lex Doyle explained that caffeine belongs to a group of drugs known as methylxanthines. This group of drugs has the ability to reduce apnea of prematurity, a condition in which the baby stops breathing for many seconds.

Feeling Inferior To Attractive Partner May Trigger Eating Disorders In Women: Study

According to a study published in the journal Body Image, women who found themselves to be less attractive than their husbands or romantic partners,were more motivated to diet and be thin often to a point of developing eating disorders.Eating disorders comprise of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits.Eating disorders are as serious as any physical ailment, which must be treated with immediate attention, else it may manifest into long term health consequences associated with poor mental health. Off late with increased campaigns to promote Mental Health awareness, eating disorders have also started gaining the attention which was long due.

On the other hand a similar motivation to diet to point of starvation was not observed among women who happened to be more attractive than their husbands . As for men, their motivation to diet was low regardless of their wives attractiveness or their own.

Feeling Inferior To Attractive Partner May Trigger Eating Disorders In Women: Study

Tania Reynolds, doctoral student at the Florida State University, said, “The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive,”

 

For the study, the team examined 113 newlywed couples — married less than four months, average age late 20s, living in Dallas area — who agreed to be rated on their attractiveness, according to some set indicators curated by the team.

 

The study offered productive insights about relationships in which a woman is constantly feeling inferior and fears falling short of her partner’s expectations. “It might be helpful to identify women at risk of developing more extreme weight-loss behaviours, which have been linked to other forms of psychological distress such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and dissatisfaction with life,” Reynolds added.

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Photo Credit: iStock

Reynolds believe, that the study can prove fruitful, as If we are able to understand how women’s relationships affect their decision to diet and the social predictors for developing unhealthy eating behaviours, then better help and assistance could be given to them.

 

Some of the most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder which are often linked to depression and poor mental health, can result in extreme emotional uheaval, uncontrollable attitude, and aggressive behavior.

  •  Anorexia: People suffering with Anorexia live under a fear of gaining weight, even if they actually happen to be underweight. They tend to diet relentlessly to a point of starvation. Their distorted body image makes them believe that they are overweight or are constantly putting on weight. Common symptoms include: Dramatic weight loss. Anorexics are usually underweight, Obsessed with dieting and counting calories, Skipping meals regularly.
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    Photo Credit: I stock

  • Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia is characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating followed by behavior that compensates for overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive exercise, or extreme use of laxatives or diuretics. They are ashamed of their weight. The binge-eating and purging routine is typically followed in secret, creating feelings of shame, guilt, and lack of control.
  • Binge-Eating Disorder: Binge Eating victims tend to indulge in emotional eating as it relieves them from stress and disturbing self-image issues. You may feel you can’t stop eating, and you needn’t be even be hungry to eat. You feel guilty about eating, and go back to eating again to feel better, and use food as a reward for yourself. This way, you may be trapped in vicious cycle.

Do you spend a lot of hours in office? It may increase irregular heart rhythm risk

Working long hours affects your health in many ways. It affects your eyes, and can even lead to cancer . Now, a new research has shown that it may increase the risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm – known as atrial fibrillation – as well as contribute to the development of stroke and heart failure. The findings showed that, compared to people who worked a normal week of between 35-40 hours, those who worked 55 hours or more were approximately 40% more likely to develop atrial fibrillation.

“A 40% increased extra risk is an important hazard for people who already have a high overall risk of cardiovascular disease due to other risk factors such as older age, male sex, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, smoking and physical inactivity or living with an established cardiovascular disease,” said Mika Kivimaki, Professor at the University College London.

People who work 55 hours or more are approximately 40% more likely to develop atrial fibrillation.

“This could be one of the mechanisms that explain the previously observed increased risk of stroke among those working long hours. Atrial fibrillation is known to contribute to the development of stroke, but also other adverse health outcomes such as heart failure and stroke-related dementia,” Kivimaki added. For the study, published in the European Heart Journal, the team analysed data from 85,494 men and women from the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Finland who took part in one of eight studies in these countries.

During the ten-year follow-up period, there were 1,061 new cases of atrial fibrillation. This gave an incidence rate of 12.4 per 1,000 people in the study, but among the 4,484 people working 55 hours or more, the incidence was 17.6 per 1,000.

Women, here’s how your desire to diet may depend on your partner’s looks

Want to shed those extra kilos by cutting on some calories? A new study suggests that a woman’s desire to diet and seek a slim body may depend on the attractiveness of a romantic partner, highlighting the fairer sex’s risk of developing eating disorders. The study showed that women who were evaluated as less attractive were more motivated to diet and be thin if their husbands or partners were attractive than them.

Conversely, this extra motivation to diet did not exist among the women who were more attractive than their husbands. As for men, their motivation to diet was low regardless of their wives attractiveness or their own, the researchers said.

The study also suggests that this extra motivation to diet did not exist among the women who were more attractive than their husbands

“The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive,” said Tania Reynolds, doctoral student at the Florida State University.

The study, published in the journal Body Image, offers productive insights about relationships in which a woman fears she will fall short of her partner’s expectations. Understanding the predictors that increase a woman’s risk of developing eating disorders and other health problems could lead to earlier assistance.

“It might be helpful to identify women at risk of developing more extreme weight-lossbehaviours, which have been linked to other forms of psychological distress such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and dissatisfaction with life,” Reynolds said.

“If we understand how women’s relationships affect their decision to diet and the social predictors for developing unhealthy eating behaviours, then we will be better able to help them,” she added. For the study, the team examined 113 newlywed couples — married less than four months, average age late 20s, living in Dallas area — who agreed to be rated on their attractiveness.

Ditch the artificial sweetener. It may increase risk of obesity and heart disease

Artificial sweeteners are substitutes for sugar that provides a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less food energy. Previous research has found that consuming artificial sweeteners may up diabetes risk. Many believe that it helps you minimise your calorie intake, but it has also been proven that instead of cutting back calories, it makes you eat more. Now, new research has linked artificial sweeteners with long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity.

The findings showed that artificial sweeteners or non-nutritive sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite. Thus, individuals consuming artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, may also be at risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease, the researchers from University of Manitoba in Canada, said.

The long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are not yet fully known.

According to researchers, the use of artificial sweeteners which is widespread and increasing is linked with the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases. For the study, published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), the team conducted a randomised controlled trials involving 1,003 people followed for six months on average. The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss, and the longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

“We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management,” said Ryan Zarychanski, assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. “Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterised,” added Meghan Azad, assistant professor, at the University.

Your speech may hold clues as to whether you are at risk for Alzheimer’s disease

Your speech may, um, help reveal if you’re uh … developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, a study suggests.

Researchers had people describe a picture they were shown in taped sessions two years apart. Those with early-stage mild cognitive impairment slid much faster on certain verbal skills than those who didn’t develop thinking problems.

“What we’ve discovered here is there are aspects of language that are affected earlier than we thought,” before or at the same time that memory problems emerge, said one study leader, Sterling Johnson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About 47 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer’s is the most common type.

This was the largest study ever done of speech analysis for this purpose, and if more testing confirms its value, it might offer a simple, cheap way to help screen people for very early signs of mental decline. The study was discussed at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London.

Don’t panic: Lots of people say “um” and have trouble quickly recalling names as they age, and that doesn’t mean trouble is on the way.

“In normal aging, it’s something that may come back to you later and it’s not going to disrupt the whole conversation,” another study leader, Kimberly Mueller, explained. “The difference here is, it is more frequent in a short period,” interferes with communication and gets worse over time.

Mild cognitive impairment causes changes that are noticeable to the person or others, but not enough to interfere with daily life. (Shutterstock)

About 47 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer’s is the most common type. In the US, about 5.5 million people have the disease. Current drugs can’t slow or reverse it, just ease symptoms. Doctors think treatment might need to start sooner to do any good, so there’s a push to find early signs.

Mild cognitive impairment causes changes that are noticeable to the person or others, but not enough to interfere with daily life. It doesn’t mean these folks will develop Alzheimer’s, but many do – 15 to 20% per year.

To see if speech analysis can find early signs, researchers first did the picture-description test on 400 people without cognitive problems and saw no change over time in verbal skills. Next, they tested 264 participants in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, a long-running study of people in their 50s and 60s, most of whom have a parent with Alzheimer’s and might be at higher risk for the disease themselves. Of those, 64 already had signs of early decline or developed it over the next two years, according to other neurological tests they took.

In the second round of tests , they declined faster on content (ideas they expressed) and fluency (the flow of speech and how many pauses and filler words they used.) They used more pronouns such as “it” or “they” instead of specific names for things, spoke in shorter sentences and took longer to convey what they had to say.

“Those are all indicators of struggling with that computational load that the brain has to conduct” and supports the role of this test to detect decline, said Julie Liss, a speech expert at Arizona State University with no role in the work.

She helped lead a study in 2015 that analysed dozens of press conferences by former President Ronald Reagan and found evidence of speech changes more than a decade before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She also co-founded a company that analyses speech for many neurological problems, including dementia, traumatic brain injury and Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers could not estimate the cost of testing for a single patient, but for a doctor to offer it requires only a digital tape recorder and a computer programme or app to analyse results.

Alan Sweet, 72, a retired state of Wisconsin worker who lives in Madison, is taking part in the study and had the speech test earlier this month. His father had Alzheimer’s and his mother had a different type of dementia, Lewy body.

“Watching my parents decline into the awful world of dementia and being responsible for their medical care was the best and worst experience of my life,” he said. “I want to help the researchers learn, furthering medical knowledge of treatment and ultimately, cure.” Participants don’t get individual results – it just aids science.

Another study at the conference, led by doctoral student Taylor Fields, hints that hearing loss may be another clue to possible mental decline. It involved 783 people from the same Wisconsin registry project. Those who said at the start of the study that they had been diagnosed with hearing loss were more than twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment over the next five years as those who did not start out with a hearing problem.

That sort of information is not strong evidence, but it fits with earlier work along those lines.

Family doctors “can do a lot to help us if they knew what to look for” to catch early signs of decline, said Maria Carrillo, the Alzheimer’s Association’s chief science officer. Hearing loss, verbal changes and other known risks such as sleep problems might warrant a referral to a neurologist for a dementia check, she said.

Mental health matters: Tweaking brain circuits may fight depression

The number of people suffering from depression rose from 8-20% over the past decade. Yet, there are still myths and stigma around mental health issues. Now, in a ray of hope for people suffering from social withdrawal and helplessness behaviour, scientists from the University of California San Diego have linked specific wiring in the brain to distinct behavioural symptoms of depression. The team found brain circuits tied to feelings of despair and helplessness and were able to alleviate and even reverse such symptoms in mice.

“We took an approach of studying depression in the sense that different brain areas and circuits of the brain might mediate or contribute to very discrete aspects of depression,” said study first-author Daniel Knowland, a UC San Diego graduate student. “For example, brain area A might contribute to loss of appetite, brain area B to social withdrawal and so forth,” he added in the study published in the journal Cell.

A study has shown that different brain circuitry is involved in different types of depressive behaviour with specific symptoms.

According to Assistant Professor Byungkook Lim, the results require much more study and evaluation to be applied to humans with depression but new research in animal models provides solid grounding. “This is one of the first studies providing clear evidence showing that different brain circuitry is involved in different types of depressive behaviour with specific symptoms,” said Lim. Each area of the brain is different with distinct cell types and connectivity.

“If we can confirm that one area of circuitry is more involved in a particular symptom than another, we may eventually be able to treat a depression patient more efficiently than treating everyone the same way,” Lim noted. For the research, the scientists identified two populations of neurons in the brain’s ventral pallidum region (part of the basal ganglia) as key to underlying depressive behaviour.