Depression, known to be a condition with impaired psychosocial functioning that severely impacts the quality of life of patients and families, is actually defined with specific clinical symptoms such as sadness, difficulty to experience pleasure, sleep problems etc., present for at least two weeks. At least 40% of depressed patients actually benefit from an antidepressant treatment, whereas 20-30% of patients may suffer from chronic depression that negatively impacts their quality of life. In order to improve the efficiency of treatment and reduce the burden of depressive disorders, depression needs to be defined at the neurobiological level.

Brain imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have made it clear that depression is associated with dysfunction of specific brain regions involved in cognitive control and emotional response. Neurobiological markers of depression may help psychiatrists to tailor antidepressant treatment to the brain and biological needs of the patients.

Professor Philippe Fossati, MD, PhD, a renowned psychiatrist and scientist from the University Pierre & Marie Curie in Paris, France, will present the latest advances in brain imaging that are fuelling the process of unveiling the concrete neural basis of the depressive self. Thereby he will give an outlook on how brain imaging studies could provide biomarkers of diagnosis and improve patients´ chances to responding to specific treatment modalities.