Depression is a recognized feature of epilepsy. This study tested the hypothesis that depression arising in patients with epilepsy would be associated with decreased activity in brain regions previously demonstrated to be hypoperfused both in primary depression and in depression secondary to movement disorders. Two groups of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy were studied, one of which also met DSM IV criteria for a major depressive episode. All underwent a SPECT scan using the blood flow marker,(99m)Tc-HMPAO. An automated voxel-based analysis demonstrated no regions of relatively decreased activity in the depressed compared with the non-depressed patients. Sites of relative hyperactivity in the depressed group were concentrated in the left hemisphere, particularly in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, striatum, thalamus and temporo-parietal regions. Comparison of these data with normal population data revealed that in the depressed epilepsy group regional activities were within the normal range whilst corresponding results from the non-depressed group were below it. Depressed patients with epilepsy have cerebral regions with greater perfusion than non-depressed people with epilepsy, although they are not hyperperfused compared with normals. Our results suggest that depression in people with epilepsy may arise from a mechanism which differs from that underlying the development of depression in patients with movement disorders.
Copyright 1999 BEA Trading Ltd.