Major depressive disorders (MDD) are a debilitating and pervasive group of mental illnesses afflicting many millions of people resulting in the loss of 110 million working days and more than 2,500 suicides per annum. Adolescent MDD patients attending NHS clinics show high rates of recurrence into adult life. A meta-analysis of recent research shows that psychological treatments are not as efficacious as previously thought. Modest treatment outcomes of approximately 65% of cases responding suggest that aetiological and clinical heterogeneity may hamper the better use of existing therapies and discovery of more effective treatments. Information with respect to optimal treatment choice for individuals is lacking, with no validated biomarkers to aid therapeutic decision-making.
Magnetic resonance-Improving Mood with Psychoanalytic and Cognitive Therapies, the MR-IMPACT study, plans to identify brain regions implicated in the pathophysiology of depressions and examine whether there are specific behavioural or neural markers predicting remission and/or subsequent relapse in a subsample of depressed adolescents recruited to the IMPACT randomised controlled trial (Registration # ISRCTN83033550).
MR-IMPACT is an investigative biomarker component of the IMPACT pragmatic effectiveness trial. The aim of this investigation is to identify neural markers and regional indicators of the pathophysiology of and treatment response for MDD in adolescents. We anticipate that these data may enable more targeted treatment delivery by identifying those patients who may be optimal candidates for therapeutic response.