Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Brain study could lead to new understanding of depression

25.08.2008
Brain scientists have moved a step closer to understanding why some people may be more prone to depression than others.

Dr Roland Zahn, a clinical neuroscientist in The University of Manchester’s School of Psychological Sciences, and his colleagues have identified how the brain links knowledge about social behaviour with moral sentiments, such as pride and guilt.

The study, carried out at the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the US with Dr Jordan Grafman, chief of the Cognitive Neuroscience Section, and Dr Jorge Moll, now at the LABS-D'Or Center for Neuroscience in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of 29 healthy individuals while they considered certain social behaviours.

The findings – published in the journal Cerebral Cortex – for the first time chart the regions of the brain that interact to link knowledge about socially appropriate behaviour with different moral feelings, depending on the context in which the social behaviour occurs.

“During everyday life we constantly evaluate social behaviour and this largely affects how we feel about ourselves and other people,” said Dr Zahn. “But the way we store and use information about our own and other people’s social behaviour are not well understood.

“This latest study used functional brain imaging to identify the circuits in the brain that underpin our ability to differentiate social behaviour that conforms to our values from behaviour that does not.”

The team observed that social behaviour not conforming to an individual’s values evoked feelings of anger when carried out by another person or feelings of guilt when the behaviour stemmed from the individuals themselves.

The fMRI scans of each volunteer could then be analysed to see which parts of the brain were activated for the different types of feeling being expressed. Of particular interest to Dr Zahn were the brain scans relating to feelings of guilt, as these have particular relevance to his current work on depression.

“The most distinctive feature of depressive disorders is an exaggerated negative attitude to oneself, which is typically accompanied by feelings of guilt,” he said.

“Now that we understand how the brains of healthy individuals respond to feelings of guilt, we hope to be able to better understand why and where there are differences in brain activity in people suffering from, or prone to, depression.

“The brain region we have identified to be associated with proneness to guilt has been shown to be abnormally active in patients with severe depression in several previous studies, but until now its involvement in guilt had been unknown."

“By translating these basic cognitive neuroscience insights into clinical research we now have the potential to discover new key functional anatomical characteristics of the brain that may lie behind depressive disorders.

“The results will hopefully make an important contribution to our understanding of the causes of depression that will ultimately allow new approaches to find better treatments and prevention.”

The current clinical study, being carried out with professors Matthew Lambon-Ralph, Bill Deakin and Alistair Burns at The University of Manchester, will last four years.

Aeron Haworth | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

Further reports about: Depression depressive disorders fMRI fMRI scans

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>