Excellent video explaining depression from a neurobiological perspective.
Around one in every 10 people will suffer from depression. Brain regions that control mood are often disrupted in depression. Antidepressant drugs or troubled youth treatments like therapy can offer some relief. By understanding the brain better, our ability to treat depression should also get a boost.
Watch the video to learn about the neural circuits affected in depression, and the molecular and cellular changes that might hold the key to treating it. Created by the editors at Nature Neuroscience: http://www.nature.com/neuro/index.html
Thе fіrѕt step tо treatment іѕ determining іf уоur symptoms аrе psychological оr duе tо аn underlying medical condition. If уоur symptoms аrе associated wіth a medical condition, treatment fоr thе condition usually resolves thе depression. If уоur symptoms аrе psychological іn nature thеrе аrе a number оf options уоu hаvе іn terms оf treatment like using kratom. You can check this review out if you are looking to use Kartom for your symptoms.
Support ѕуѕtеm. Finding a positive support ѕуѕtеm іѕ аn important factor іn treating уоur symptoms. Sоmеtіmеѕ talking wіth ѕоmеоnе аbоut уоur problems wіll make уоu feel better аbоut уоur situation.
Stress reduction. Eliminating stressors іn уоur life саn help reduce depression. Wе аll hаvе problems іn life, but learning hоw tо deal wіth thеm effectively саn mеаn thе difference іn bеіng stressed оut оr accepting thе things thаt уоu саnnоt change.
Lifestyle changes. Sоmеtіmеѕ a change іn уоur lifestyle саn decrease уоur symptoms. Regular exercise аnd proper nutrition аrе just thе beginning оf making lifestyle changes. Getting thе appropriate аmоunt оf sleep іѕ аnоthеr key раrt оf making positive changes. A good night’s sleep goes a lоng wау.
Finding thе right treatment plan mау tаkе a little tіmе, but оnсе уоu fіnd ѕоmеthіng thаt works fоr уоu gіvе іt ѕоmе tіmе аnd bе patient. Ovеr tіmе уоu wіll begin tо hаvе a positive outlook оn уоur life аnd уоur future.
Sloppy science has led to incorrect conclusions about the difference between male and female brains. She shows how data on visual spatial activity are wrongly interpreted, the same for math differences in men and women.
Based on recent literature and a lecture it appeared to me that not everyone is talking about the same phenomenon when it comes to empathy. In much animal research resonance is mostly the adequate description of what is being studied. Resonance is the phenomenon of one person unconsciously mirroring the motor actions as basis of emotional expressions of another person. In animal models resonance is mostly the representation of motor action of the other animal without making the moves but showing activity in motor regions of the brain.
Empathy is more than resonance. It is usually divided in cognitive and emotional empathy. For me emotional empathy is the core characteristic of empathy and is a quality present to a lesser of greater extend in humans. Not everyone has this capacity or in the same amount. It’s the ability of feeling the same as someone else with the recognition that the feeling belongs to the other one. Moreover is a more broader definition it’s the capacity to experience affective reactions to the observed experiences of others or in a stricter sense share a “fellow feeling”.
the term cognitive empathy describes empathy as a cognitive role-taking ability, or the capacity to engage in the cognitive process of adopting another’s psychological point of view. This ability may involve making inferences regarding the other’s affective and cognitive mental states.
Probably cognitive empathy is something we can teach our residents and medical students. From an evolutionary stand point, emotional empathy is the phylogenetically earliest system. The cognitive empathy is more advanced and involves higher cognitive functions.
The division between cognitive and emotional empathy is supported by animal models and psychiatric disturbances such as autism and borderline personality disorder both characterized by a dissociation between cognitive and emotional empathy.
The neural bases of the cognitive and emotional empathy is represented in the next graphic.
Sympathy is another emotion different from empathy. Empathy is a process by which we try to comprehend another’s experience, while sympathy would be a direct perceptual awareness of another person’s experience akin to the phenomenon of sympathetic resonance. Sympathy does not necessarily require feeling any kind of congruent emotions on part of the observer, a detached recognition or representation that the other is in need or suffers might be sufficient.
When looking for studies on humor and neuroscience I came a cross a very nice review. In this review two studies on the use of humor patients with chronic mental illness were discussed. These two studies were done on hospitalized psychiatric patients. If you are looking for a more conventional method of treatment then visit this urgent care clinic for medical assistance.
In one study clowns lead sessions twice weekly with games, psychomotor expression exercises and activities based on imaginary situations. This study was done on an acute psychiatric ward. They did 28 sessions and compared to a prior comparable period of time, disruptive behavior decreased in both absolute and relative terms. The most significantly reduced behaviors were attempted elopements, self-injury and fighting.
The other study was done on two chronic psychiatric wards with patients with chronic schizophrenia. On these two wards movies were provided 5 days per week for three months, the study period. On one ward only humorous movies were shown, the other ward viewed a mixture of film types, with only 15% being humorous.
A significant reduction in clinically rated negative symptoms, anxiety, and depression was found only in the group that viewed humorous movies. In addition, self-reported anger was decreased and social competence was improved. No changes were found in positive symptoms, activities of daily living, treatment insight, or therapeutic alliance.
To my opinion these two studies emphasis the importance of the therapeutic milieu besides the usual psychotherapeutic and pharmacotherapeutic interventions. What do you think?
Taber KH, Redden M, & Hurley RA (2007). Functional anatomy of humor: positive affect and chronic mental illness. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 19 (4), 358-62 PMID: 18070837
During a wedding the oxytocine of those involved in the wedding party rises, the testosterone level of only the groom rises, naughty, naughty. Watch this video and find out why people like to have a wedding.
Pregnancy requires many adaptations to new situations. These changes are accompanied by massive neuroendocrine changes leading to adaptations organized by the mother’s brain. These changes are necessary for the different phases of pregnancy and motherhood.
First optimization is needed for the growth and protection of the fetus, next parturition has to be timely and uncomplicated, next maternal behavior such as caring and defending the young is important together with the start of lactation. It’s not easy to understand the complex interaction between female- and pregnancy hormones and their interaction with the maternal brain.
At the start of pregnancy the brain controls the increased appetite necessary for the pregnancy and the expansion of the blood volume as well as deeper breathing. The brain also prevents further ovulations through the pituitary gland.
The most important female hormones secreted in massive amounts during pregnancy are oestrogen en progesterone. They are very lipid soluble and easily penetrate the brain. Their ratio change the balance between inhibition and excitation. The stages of the pregnancy are signaled to the brain by the pattern of their secretion. Labor starts after the progesterone to oestrogen ratio strongly declines.
The fetus is during pregnancy protected from stress hormones such as cortisol by “in-built” mechanisms. The stress system (HPA-axis) activity is reduced during pregnancy, the responsiveness of the system to a wide range of physical and psychological stressors is reduced. If all this fails, the placenta produces an enzyme that acts as a barrier against maternal stress hormones. It converts these stress hormones (cortisol) to inactive metabolites.
The other most important female hormone for pregnancy and it’s effects on the brain is Oxytocine. When the ratio of progesterone to oestrogen drops, oxytocine is released and stimulates expulsive uterine contractions (labor), it reduces the anxiety of the first exposure to the screaming and noisy newborn, it encourages maternal behavior and the oxytocine pulses due to nipple sucking starts the breast feeding. Prolactin also increased at the end of pregnancy which is also important for breast feeding and maternal behavior.
This is just a short introduction to all the different complex systems and adaptations needed with pregnancy. If your interested the most extensive review was published in Neuroscience in January 2008. For a short and comprehensive explanation you can freely read online: 12. The maternal brain by Professor John A Russell, Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh.
Brunton, P., & Russell, J. (2008). The expectant brain: adapting for motherhood Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9 (1), 11-25 DOI: 10.1038/nrn2280
What makes a paper “interesting”? First of all the subject but this is only interesting to a small, focused audience, all ready aware of the matter at hand. Next is the theory, which has a much broader audience. Most papers are only interesting for the subject. You should make it more interesting for a broad area by framing it in a broader theory. How? Read the post Get a Theory Part 2 on Blue Monster
It’s really the 700-student part that has me interested in Twitter. Most professors recognize that lectures are not the best way for students to learn—they turn students into passive recipients rather than active participants. The effective use of technology, however, has the potential to make even large lecture classes more engaging.
What is Neuroanthropology?
Neuroanthropology is a collaborative weblog created to encourage exchanges among anthropology, philosophy, social theory, and the brain sciences. We especially hope to explore the implications of new findings in the neurosciences for our understanding of culture, human development, and behaviour.
Lombroso believed that 40% of criminals were ‘born criminals’ who could be distinguished by physical features including relatively long arms, prehensile feet with mobile big toes, low and narrow forehead, large ears, thick skull, large jaw, etc. The main objection to his hypotheses were his campaign on the basis of his theory for a preventive criminology: ‘society need not wait for the act itself, for physical and social stigmata define the potential criminal. He can be identified, watched and whisked away at the first manifestation of his irrevocable nature’.
As than as well as now the findings in the field of neuroscience of psychopathy does not legitimize the preventive incarceration of a ‘high-risk’ individual. Nor does it approve a therapeutically nihilistic approach to such an individual on the grounds that he is ‘beyond rehabilitation’.
What is psychopathy?
Psychopathy is a disorder, defined by Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist — Revised (PCL—R) and characterized in part by a diminished capacity for remorse and poor behavioral controls. Psychopathy is defined not only by antisocial behavior but also by emotional impairment such as the lack of guilt. The emotional impairment found in individuals with psychopathy interferes with socialization such that the individual does not learn to avoid antisocial behavior.
Psychopathy is not an official psychiatric DSM diagnosis. In the DSM it’s replaced by antisocial personality disorder. Only one third of those who are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder meet criteria for psychopathy. Antisocial behavior shown by individuals with psychopathy is that it is mostly instrumental in nature, i.e. goal-directed towards achieving money, sexual opportunities or increased status. In British psychiatry psychopathy is still in use and studied. Most authors say that a diagnosis of psychopathy, unlike antisocial personality disorder, is informative regarding a patient’s future risk.
For a more extensive description of psychopathy have a look at article in Wikipedia
High level of psychopathy is associated with reduced amygdaloid volume and amygdala dysfunction. The amygdala is involved in emotions. It’s needed to recognize fearful and sad faces, it’s the “fear center”. The amygdala plays a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions. Fear as well as learning from punishment is lacking in psychopathy. Amygdala dysfunction is believed to be one of the core neural systems implicated in the pathology of psychopathy.
Other scientists believe the main neural system associated with psychopathy is the orbitofrontal cortex and other regions of the prefrontal cortex. These brain structures are essential for learning from experience such as learning from punishment.
The more likely and more recent hypothesis suggested instead that the social and emotional deficits of psychopaths may reflect an interaction between orbitifrontal cortex and amygdala dysfunction.
In a recent publication in Molecular Psychiatry another area is added to this complex. The white matter that link the amygdala with the orbitofrontal cortex called the uncinate fasciculus is abnormal. For the location of the uncinate fasciculus see the picture below.
In even a more recent publication the researchers of another group used a cortical pattern-matching method with MRI to investigate cortical gray matter thickness in psychopaths (n=27) and in non-psychopathic controls (n=32). Compared to non-psychopaths, the psychopaths had significant cortical gray matter thinning in the right frontal and temporal cortices.
The finding of right hemisphere pathology in psychopaths is consistent with observations from lesion studies, showing that damage to the right hemisphere impairs the ability for effective recognition, especially for negative facial expression, similar to dysfunctions documented in psychopaths
It is unclear whether differences from control subjects in psychopaths are secondary or primary to the abnormalities in the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex. Moreover, these are observational studies. It doesn’t give us a clue to what was first, nor does it exclude the consequences of the environment on the brain. We can’t distinguish cause and effect.
For a more in depth discussion about psychopathy and neurobiology please read: Psychopaths (sociopaths): White matter, unplugged
Benning, T. (2003). Neuroimaging psychopathy: lessons from Lombroso The British Journal of Psychiatry, 183 (6), 563-564 DOI: 10.1192/bjp.183.6.563 Blair, R. (2003). Neurobiological basis of psychopathy The British Journal of Psychiatry, 182 (1), 5-7 DOI: 10.1192/bjp.182.1.5 Craig, M., Catani, M., Deeley, Q., Latham, R., Daly, E., Kanaan, R., Picchioni, M., McGuire, P., Fahy, T., & Murphy, D. (2009). Altered connections on the road to psychopathy Molecular Psychiatry DOI: 10.1038/mp.2009.40 Yang, Y., Raine, A., Colletti, P., Toga, A., & Narr, K. (2009). Abnormal temporal and prefrontal cortical gray matter thinning in psychopaths Molecular Psychiatry, 14 (6), 561-562 DOI: 10.1038/mp.2009.12