Areas that show over-activity following tryptophan depletion in depression patients in remission — and thought to reflect a trait dysfunction — include emotion regulating circuitry involving the anterior cingulate, thalamus, ventral striatum and orbitofrontal cortex.
A brain imaging study by the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has found that an emotion-regulating brain circuit is overactive in people prone to depression – even when they are not depressed. Researchers discovered the abnormality in brains of those whose depressions relapsed when a key brain chemical messenger was experimentally reduced. Even when in remission, most subjects with a history of mood disorder experienced a temporary recurrence of symptoms when their brains were experimentally sapped of tryptophan, the chemical precursor of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is boosted by antidepressants.
Neither a placebo procedure in patients nor tryptophan depletion in healthy volunteers triggered the mood and brain activity changes. Brain scans revealed that a key emotion-processing circuit was overactive only in patients in remission – whether or not they had re-experienced symptoms – and not in controls. Since the abnormal activity did not reflect mood state, the finding suggests that tryptophan depletion unmasks an inborn trait associated with depression.
Alexander Neumeister, M.D., Dennis Charney, M.D., Wayne Drevets, M.D., NIMH Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, and colleagues, report on their positron emission tomography (PET) scan study in the August 2004 Archives of General Psychiatry.
Jules Asher | EurekAlert!
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A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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