In this medical health video Dr. Kovacs explains how advances in brain imaging techniques are allowing researchers to work toward prevention and not just treatment of childhood depression.
Female Speaker: Finding ways to prevent depression in children is the next goal of research particularly as studies have shown that children suffering from depression have a 60 to 70% chance, they will fall victim to depression or other mental illnesses as adults. Dr. Kovacs is hopeful that this statistic can be become a thing of the past with the development of new prevention methods. Dr. Kovacs: 20 years ago if you had a problem with serious emotions they didn't know what to do with it, okay. Because people believed that emotions were just there. Over the less 10-15 years, I think we have an understanding that emotions can be regulated by the person that you can change the intensity of your emotions and how long you feel certain emotions. And what's even more impressive is just that there is some very interesting research done in using imaging machines that they have really shown. For example, if you take adults, and in some cases kids, you put them in an imaging and you tell them to think of certain things or not think of certain things, you connect with change some of the activity in the brain in those regions that we are associated with emotions or emotion regulation. So the short answer to your question is that I really believe that we are able to identify kids at risk for depression and then they look at those children who already having some difficulties in containing. They are talking about containment, containing the emotion, not getting rid of it, but just managing the emotions so that it doesn't take over your life, if they can do that I think that we are going to be able to be successful. The way to think of it is that we want children to have emotions, but we don't want the emotions to have the child. Female Speaker: Over the last few years depression has come out of the shadows. People suffering from depression have begun speaking about their experiences and getting help has become easier. Dr. Kovacs: So it's no longer something strange or something bad or it's not something that you did because somebody else had it so the process of I think healing start at that point because you can start talking about it, you can start to get help for it. I think it's enormously important.