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January 2, 2020

Electroencephalographic Biomarkers for Predicting Antidepressant Response: New Methods, Old Questions

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 2Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Los Angeles, California
  • 3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(4):347-348. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3749

Medication selection in depression still relies primarily on trial and error, frustrating both patients and clinicians. Diagnostic tests that predict treatment response in advance could facilitate an informed approach and reduce suffering. Ideally, those tests would directly measure brain function. The primary research test of brain function, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), is too expensive to scale to routine care. Electroencephalography (EEG), however, is comparatively inexpensive and fast and could be made available in many settings. Plus, as a direct measure of localized brain activity, EEG is ideal for dissecting the connections between neurotransmission, symptoms, and pharmacologic response.

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