Children having depression symptoms as young as seven years-old, study finds

Children get depressed too, and a study has found that signs of depression can be detected in children as young as 7 years-old.

US researchers from Northeastern University in Boston studied almost 100 children. They found they could predict which would suffer depressive symptoms at the age of 11 by scanning their brains when they were seven.

An MRI scan was done on the youngsters and the two parts of the brain believed to control decision-making and mood were analyzed.

Image result for images showing MRI scans on children
Child undergoing an MRI scan (Photo: Medical News Today)

High blood flow between these brain regions indicates that cells are ‘talking’ to each other, and suggests those children manage their emotions well.

But low blood flow may suggest the opposite.

Children with low blood flow showed more signs of depression in a behavioural assessment four years later.

This assessment was done by interviewing the children’s parents.
In addition, the researchers also graded the youngsters on ‘internalising’ behaviours such as withdrawing from friends and family, signs of anxiety and physical symptoms such as extreme tiredness.

Withdrawing from friends, a symptom of depression (Photo: Understood.org)

They found almost one in five children saw their depressive symptoms worsen over the four years.