Neuroscientists have identified the region of the brain responsible for depression and anxiety, opening the door to future treatments.
In animal tests, the experts succeeded in stimulating this region of the brain, known as the caudate nucleus, which is linked to emotional decision making.
By doing this, the scientists were able to induce the animals to make negative decisions.
The findings could help scientists better understand the paralyzing effects of depression and also guide them in the development of new treatments.
Researchers are currently working with psychiatrists to see if the brains of people suffering from depression and anxiety show abnormal activity in the caudate nucleus.
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Neuroscientists have identified the region of the brain responsible for depression and anxiety, opening the door to future treatment (stock image)
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered that by stimulating the caudate nucleus, they could make animals more weight about the disadvantages of a given situation, about its benefits.
This pessimistic view of decision-making continued throughout the day, long after the original stimulation, the researchers said.
"We think we were seeing an indicator of anxiety, or depression, or some combination of both," said Ann Graybiel, a professor at the MIT Institute and lead author of the study, which is published in the Journal Neuron.
"These psychiatric problems are still very difficult to treat for many people who suffer them."
In the study, the researchers wanted to see if they could reproduce an effect that is often seen in people with depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
These patients tend to put more weight on the possible negative outcome of a given situation.
To test this, the researchers stimulated the caudate nucleus with a small electric current.
The animals were offered a reward (juice) paired with an unpleasant stimulus (a puff of air on the face).
The findings could help scientists better understand the crippling effects of blues and also guide them in the development of new treatments (stock image)
In each trial, the relationship between reward and aversive stimuli was different, and animals could choose whether to accept or not.
If the reward was high enough to balance the mouthful of air, the animals would choose to accept it, but when that proportion was too low, they rejected it.
When the researchers stimulated the caudate nucleus, the cost-benefit calculation became biased, and the animals began to avoid combinations that they would have previously accepted.
This continued even after the stimulation ended, and could also be seen the next day, after which it gradually disappeared.
This result suggests that the animals began to devalue the reward they previously wanted, and focused more on the cost of the aversive stimulus.
Dr. Graybiel is now working with psychiatrists at McLean Hospital to study patients suffering from depression and anxiety to see if their brains show abnormal activity in the caudate nucleus during certain activities, such as decision making.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have shown abnormal activity in two regions of the medial prefrontal cortex that connect to the caudate nucleus.
Experts believe that the abnormal activity observed in the caudate nucleus in this study could be in some way altering the activity of dopamine.
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WHAT IS POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
Postpartum depression occurs after the birth of a baby.
It affects up to 20 percent of women in the US UU And at 10 percent in the United Kingdom.
This is different from the baby blues, which commonly includes mood swings, episodes of crying, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
This is a more severe and lasting form of depression.
There may be problems bonding with the baby, enjoying motherhood, periods of anger or anger, sadness and crying.
There may be a constant feeling of being overwhelmed or possible thoughts of hurting or escaping and escaping.
PPD is a disorder of the group of diseases called perinatal mood disorder and anxiety disorders.
Source: Mayo Clinic and Postpartum Progress
For confidential assistance in the United Kingdom, call the Samaritans at 116123 or visit a local Samaritan branch, visit www.samaritans.org for more information.
To obtain confidential assistance in the US UU. Call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.
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