Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


MRI study finds that depression uncouples brain's hate circuit

A new study using MRI scans, led by Professor Jianfeng Feng, from the University of Warwick's Department of Computer Science, has found that depression frequently seems to uncouple the brain's "Hate Circuit". The study entitled "Depression Uncouples Brain Hate Circuit" is published today (Tuesday 4th October 2011) in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The researchers used MRI scanners to scan the brain activity in 39 depressed people (23 female 16 male) and 37 control subjects who were not depressed (14 female 23 male). The researchers found the fMRI scans revealed significant differences in the brain circuitry of the two groups.

The greatest difference observed in the depressed patients was the uncoupling of the so-called "hate circuit" involving the superior frontal gyrus, insula and putamen. Other major changes occurred in circuits related to risk and action responses, reward and emotion, attention and memory processing.

The hate circuit was first clearly identified in 2008 by UCL Professor Semir Zeki who found that a circuit which seemed to connect three regions in the brain (the superior frontal gyrus, insula and putamen) when test subjects were shown pictures of people they hated.

The new University of Warwick led research found that in significant numbers of the depressed test subjects they examined by fMRI that this hate circuit had become decoupled. Those depressed people also seemed to have experienced other significant disruptions to brain circuits associated with; risk and action, reward and emotion, and attention and memory processing. The researchers found that in the depressed subjects:

The Hate circuits were 92% per cent likely to be decoupled
The Risk/Action circuit was 92% likely to be decoupled
The Emotion/Reward circuit was 82% likely to be decoupled
Professor Jianfeng Feng, from the University of Warwick's Department of Computer studies said that:

"The results are clear but at first sight are puzzling as we know that depression is often characterized by intense self loathing and there is no obvious indication that depressives are less prone to hate others. One possibility is that the uncoupling of this hate circuit could be associated with impaired ability to control and learn from social or other situations which provoke feelings of hate towards self or others. This in turn could lead to an inability to deal appropriately with feelings of hate and an increased likelihood of both uncontrolled self-loathing and withdrawal from social interactions. It may be that this is a neurological indication that is more normal to have occasion to hate others rather than hate ourselves."

A draft of the paper can be seen at:

Note for editors:

The full list of the paper's authors is as follows: Professor Jianfeng Feng, Department of Computer Science, University of Warwick and also the Centre for Computational Systems Biology, School of Mathematical Sciences, Fudan University,; Zhimin Xue, Zhening Liu, and Haojuan Tao, all from the Institute of Mental Health, Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, China; Shuixia Guo, Mathematics and Computer Science College, Hunan Normal University, China; Tian Ge, Centre for Computational Systems Biology, School of Mathematical Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, China; Keith M. Kendrick Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Group, The Babraham Institute.

Professor Jianfeng Feng | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease

26.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

3-D-printed structures shrink when heated

26.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>