People who are depressed sometimes describe the world as looking drab. The blues have a way of making things seem gray. A team of German researchers think they know why.
Using an instrument that measures electrical activity in the retina, a group at Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg has shown that the retinas of depressed people don't respond as strongly to certain kinds of visual stimuli as the retinas of people who aren't depressed. They believe their findings, published in the March 2010 issue of Biological Psychiatry, provide some fresh insight into the origins of depression and the role of a brain chemical called dopamine. They also see important implications for future depression research. "The main thing is that this could provide us with an objective measure of depression," said Dr. Ludger Tebartz van Elst in an interview with the Health Letter.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.