Depression and physical activity

In depression, in addition to impairments in the cognitive and affective spheres, psychomotor defects are observed.

Structural aberrations in the white matter of the brain have been proven using neuroimaging techniques . Cerebral white matter hyperintensity was recorded . Its degree is associated with the severity of the disease, the lack of response to treatment, and a decrease in speed with some psychomotor tests. It is the glial cells with myelin around the axons that make up the white matter of the brain. The cause of white matter hyperintensity is damage to small vessels.

Some researchers have found a decrease in gray matter in the motor areas of the brain: in the right premotor cortex. A decrease in the size of the caudate nucleus leads to a decrease in psychomotor reactions in patients with depression. The volumes and sizes of the third ventricle and the amount of cerebrospinal fluid are also associated with a decrease in psychomotor reactions.  

Magnetic resonance functional tomography showed increased activation during movement in the primary motor cortex and motor asymmetry .

Electroencephalogram of patients with depression and psychomotor disorders revealed variability and increased amplitude in delta and theta activities.

 Three methods are used in the diagnosis of depressive disorders: positron emission tomography (PET), spin arterial blood labeling (ASL), and single photon emission tomography (SPECT). The methods measure cerebral blood flow, oxygen consumption and glucose metabolism, and synaptic transmission. In 2012, Walther et al, using ASL and actigraphy , found a positive relationship between physical activity and blood flow in the right orbitofrontal cortex, a negative correlation with blood flow in the left premotor region. Transcranial ultrasound examination of psychomotor disorders showed a decrease in the echogenicity of the mesencephalic nuclei of the suture. The results of these studies indicate an organic origin of psychomotor disorders in depression.     

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