Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Depression saps endurance of the brain's reward circuitry

Date:
December 22, 2009
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Depressed patients are unable to sustain activity in brain areas related to positive emotion, a new study suggests.

A new study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests that depressed patients are unable to sustain activity in brain areas related to positive emotion.

Related Articles


The study challenges previous notions that individuals with depression show less brain activity in areas associated with positive emotion. Instead, the new data suggest similar initial levels of activity, but an inability to sustain them over time. The new work was reported online the week of Dec. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure in things normally rewarding, is a cardinal symptom of depression," explains UW-Madison graduate student Aaron Heller, who led the project. "Scientists have generally thought that anhedonia is associated with a general reduction of activity in brain areas thought to be important for positive emotion and reward. In fact, we found that depressed patients showed normal levels of activity early on in the experiment. However, towards the end of the experiment, those levels of activity dropped off precipitously.

"Those depressed subjects who were better able to sustain activity in brain regions related to positive emotion and reward also reported higher levels of positive emotion in their everyday experience," Heller continues.

"Being able to sustain and even enhance one's own positive emotional experience is a critical component of health and well-being," notes the study's senior author, Richard Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry and director of both the UW-Madison Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, and the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior. "These findings may lead to therapeutic interventions that enable depressed individuals to better sustain positive emotion in their daily lives."

During the study, 27 depressed patients and 19 control participants were presented with visual images intended to evoke either a positive or a negative emotional response. While viewing these images, participants were instructed to use cognitive strategies to increase, decrease or maintain their emotional responses to the images by imagining themselves in similar scenarios. Heller and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity in the target areas. The scientists examined the extent to which activation in the brain's reward centers to positive pictures was sustained over time.

The work was funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals, Fetzer Institute and Impact Foundation, and by gifts from the John W. Kluge Foundation, Bryant Wangard, Ralph Robinson and Keith and Arlene Bronstein.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Depression saps endurance of the brain's reward circuitry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221212736.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2009, December 22). Depression saps endurance of the brain's reward circuitry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221212736.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Depression saps endurance of the brain's reward circuitry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221212736.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins