Brain Scan
A brain scan in an undated image Reuters/Handout

Doctors in France have suggested testing the brain for tumour in case of unexplained depression. The suggestion is based on a recent case in which a woman suffering from unexplained depression was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The 54-year-old French woman was diagnosed with a massive tumour in her brain after she complained of depressive symptoms for six months. She suddenly became apathetic and showed symptoms of lack of energy along with problems in concentrating and sleeping. She also found she was no longer able to make decisions.

When anti-anxiety medications failed to work and she started having suicidal thoughts, the doctors conducted a brain scan. The scan revealed a meningioma (the most common type of benign tumour) covering her left frontal lobe, reports the Telegraph.

A successful surgery eliminated the depressive symptoms, said Dr. Sophie Dautricourt of the University of Caen Normandy. “Our results give rise to the question of whether or not depressive syndrome should indicate brain imaging,” said Dautricourt.

Elaborating on the woman’s condition, BMJ Case Reports says that though there is, at present, no consensus about whether brain imaging is required for depressive syndromes, it should be performed especially if there is onset of depression symptoms after 50 years of age.

Dautricourt suggests that brain scan should also be undertaken in cases of treatment-resistant depression or in apathy with a reduced emotional response. “This approach can lead to an early diagnosis of brain tumours and, thus, improve the functional and vital prognosis of these patients,” said Dautricourt.

The normal symptoms of brain tumour, which afflicts one in four people in Britain, include seizures, severe and persistent headaches, vomiting, drowsiness, speech problems and changes in personality.

Contact the writer at or tell us what you think below.