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The Press Department of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum reports on their news portal: The consequences of long lasting depressive phases could be more far-reaching than previously thought.

During a depressive phase, the brain’s ability to form new nerve cells decreases – with negative consequences for memory. It was already known that people do not remember current events as well during depressive phases. Now researchers have shown that older memories can also be affected. The team led by Sen Cheng (Project Leader A14, F01) simulated a depressive brain in a computer model. The longer a depressive phase lasted in the model, the further back the memory problems went.

Old memories could be permanently damaged.

Sen Cheng

“So far it has been assumed that memory disorders only occur during depression,“ explains Sen Cheng. “If our model is right, depression would have more far-reaching consequences. Old memories could be permanently damaged, even if the depression has already subsided.“

The results were published by the Bochum-based group in the journal Plos One on June 7, 2018.