Washington: Molecular changes have been detected in the brains of highly depressed women, which will help in a better understanding of mental illnesses, researchers said.

Although women are twice as likely as men to suffer depression with more severe and frequent symptoms, very little research has focused on them, said senior study author Etienne Sibille, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine.

“It seemed to us that if there were molecular changes in the depressed brain, we might be able to better identify them in samples that come from females,” he said.

“Our findings give us a better understanding of the biology of this common and often debilitating psychiatric illness,” according to a Pitt statement.

The findings are based on post-mortem brain tissue samples of 21 women with depression and 21 'normal' women.