State and Trait Brain Function in Depression

State and Trait Brain Function in Depression

Peter ForsterBasic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

Understanding the neurobiology of depression involves more than just knowing about serotonin, we need to know how state and trait brain function in depression is different from brain functioning in those who have never had a major depression. State and trait are key concepts in understanding psychiatric conditions: state refers to those alterations in functioning that occur when someone is …

Transmission of Distress Across Generations

Peter ForsterBasic Science, Other Psychiatric Disorders, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

Transmission of Distress Across Generations Based on Epigenetic Changes Researchers looking at victims of severe trauma, such as concentration camp survivors, have long known that the effects of these events are transmitted in some fashion to the children and even the children’s children. The mechanism of this transmission has usually been assumed to be based on changes in parenting behavior …

Reduced Gene Expression in Reward Center is Linked to Depression

Peter ForsterBasic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

Researchers from the University of Maryland have conducted a series of experiments in mice and humans leading them to conclude that reduced gene expression in the reward center is linked to depression. Specifically, the researchers found that there was reduced expression of the Slc6a15 gene in the brains of people with major depression who committed suicide, and that expression of this …

Lithium Mechanism of Action

Peter ForsterBasic Science, Bipolar Treatment, Psychobiology 2 Comments

Understanding the lithium mechanism of action may allow us to predict which bipolar patients will respond to the medication (and which will not) and may shape our understanding of the causes of bipolar disorder itself. Research at the University of California, San Diego could lead to just these kind of breakthroughs in the next few years. In the first of …

Brain Response to Stress in Depression

Brain Response to Stress in Depression

Peter ForsterBasic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

A study looking at the brain response to stress in depression offers important clues about changes in brain function that may be associated with vulnerability to depression and what happens when a vulnerable individual becomes depressed. Researchers looked at brain activity using functional MRI in three groups of people: people with untreated first episode major depression, people with a history …

Negative Self Appraisal and Brain Activity

Negative Self-Appraisal and Brain Activity

Peter ForsterBasic Science, Major Depression, Psychobiology Leave a Comment

Negative Self-Appraisal and Brain Activity: Altered Function in Depression Within the Default Mode Network (DMN) are three structures that link negative self-appraisal and brain activity: The medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) The posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) And the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) Negative self-appraisal refers to the relentless critical self talk that occurs in many people with depression. Many patients report …

Functional Brain Imaging in Depression

Peter ForsterBasic Science, Best Practices, Major Depression, Psychobiology, Testing, Treatments of Depression

Is there a role for functional brain imaging in depression? Many people seeking treatment are interested in the notion that the brain imaging, particularly imaging that looks at neural activity, might be useful in guiding treatment. Up until the last couple of years the answer to this question has always been that the role is primarily restricted to research settings …

Delayed Circadian Rhythms

Peter ForsterInsomnia, Insomnia Treatment, Psychobiology

Delayed circadian rhythms occur in a condition known as delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD). This condition needs to be distinguished from disrupted circadian rhythms, a condition in which there are no strong circadian rhythms and therefore it’s hard for people to fall asleep, and when they do fall asleep they tend to have fragmented or light sleep. People with delayed …

A Possible Cause of Bipolar Mania

Peter ForsterBasic Science, Psychobiology

A recently published article by a group of Korean researchers hints at a possible cause of bipolar mania. The finding underlines the complex biology of bipolar disorder and perhaps why coming up with a biological mechanism for the dramatic shifts in behavior in bipolar has been so difficult. Background A number of pieces of evidence have suggested that phospholipase C signaling may be …