Depression is associated with the lateral orbitofrontal cortex which is the nonreward center in the brain. It also affects the area which is involved in sense of self. So sufferers feel the sense of loss and disappointment associated with not getting a rewards, and also feel a sense of loss of themselves and low self esteem. Sound familiar? It seems that there would be over activity of the nonreward center and underactivity of the area responsible for sense of self and these (and other factors) would lead to depression. Again, depression is a physical disease, and as we find out more about its causes, it will hopefully be able to be treated much more effectively soon!
Understanding of the physical root of depression has been advanced, thanks to new research –
Understanding of the physical root of depression has been advanced, thanks to research by the University of Warwick, UK, and Fudan University, China.
The study shows that depression affects the part of the brain which is implicated in non-reward—the lateral orbitofrontal cortex—so that sufferers of the disease feel a sense of loss and disappointment associated with not receiving rewards.
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This area of the brain, which becomes active when rewards are not received, is also connected with the part of the brain which is involved in one’s sense of self, thus potentially leading to thoughts of personal loss and low self-esteem.
Depression is also associated with reduced connectivity between the reward brain area in the medial orbitofrontal cortex and memory systems in the brain, which could account for sufferers having a reduced focus on happy memories.
These new discoveries could herald a breakthrough in treating depression, by going to the root cause of the illness, and helping depressed people to stop focussing on negative thoughts.
The study has been carried out by Professor Edmund Rolls from Warwick, Professor Jianfeng Feng from Warwick and from Fudan University in Shanghai, Dr. Wei Cheng from Fudan University, and by other centres in China.
Learn More: Mindfulness treatment as effective as CBT for depression and anxiety
In a particularly large study, almost 1,000 people in China had their brains scanned using high precision MRI, which analyzed the connections between the medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortex—the different parts of the human brain affected by depression.
Feng comments that depression is becoming increasingly prevalent: “More than one in ten people in their life time suffer from depression, a disease which is so common in modern society and we can even find the remains of Prozac (a depression drug) in the tap water in London.”
“Our finding, with the combination of big data we collected around the world and our novel methods, enables us to locate the roots of depression which should open up new avenues for better therapeutic treatments in the near future for this horrible disease,” Feng continues.
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Rolls looks forward to the new treatments the research could lead to. “The new findings on how depression is related to different functional connectivities of the orbitofrontal cortex have implications for treatments in the light of a recent non-reward attractor theory of depression.”
Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
University of Warwick press release
Cheng W et al. Medial reward and lateral non-reward orbitofrontal cortex circuits change in opposite directions in depression. Brain, Published Online October 14 2016. doi: 10.1093/brain/aww255
Beautiful snow in Louisville today!
I can see the good in almost all people, not serial murderers and the like, but all normal people. Even if I don’t like someone, I can usually see their positive traits anyway. I know some people who look at other people very negatively, very critically. I think that is a disservice they do to the other person as well as to themselves. It’s sad to not see the beauty that shines through someone. It’s sad to deny that goodness exists. Does it mean that they think nothing good exists? Does it mean that they think they can be the judge that judges all? I don’t know how people become that way, possibly mimicking a parent, possibly out of insecurity, possibly both. The parent may have had insecurities, or delusions of grandeur or narcissism. Both my parents were narcissists, yet I didn’t become like them, I actively avoided it.
I’m not saying I’m perfect, by no means, but I do look for and see goodness in people.
Just some thoughts I had today.
How interesting for people with a mood disorder who constantly feels at the mercy of their emotions!
I would love to be able to construct my emotions and definitely try to be responsible for them. Well, just watch the video and let me know what you think.
I transcribed some of it and I’m writing it below in bold. It’s a very interesting video and worth listening to in its entirety.
She says at the end: “You have more control over your emotional suffering than you might imagine and you have the capacity to turn down the dial on emotional suffering and it’s consequences for your life by learning how to construct your expressions differently. All of us can do this and be good at it. More control means more responsibility. If you’re not at the mercy of some mythical emotion circuits buried deep in your brain somewhere and which trigger automatically then who’s responsible when you behave badly? You are! Not because you’re culpable for your emotions but because the actions and experiences you make today become your brain’s predictions for tomorrow.
Sometimes we are responsible for something not because we’re to blame but because we are the only ones who can change it.
Emotions are built not built in.We are responsible for our own emotions.
Embrace the responsibility because it is a path to a healthier body and a more Just and informed legal system, a more flexible and more potent emotional life.”
He was brilliant, arguably the most intelligent man alive. He was only supposed to live to about 23 years of age, because of being diagnosed with ALS in 1963, yet he lived into his 76th year. And the irony of the man with the most brilliant brain having no control of his body is not lost here. Yet he did not let that defeat him! He lived and breathed and theorized and studied and went on with his life. He studied black holes and his most well known theory was that black holes didn’t swallow up everything, they actually released radiation (!) which is now known as Hawking radiation.
Of course, he was beyond brilliant, he was also personable and funny, making many appearances on shows such as the Big Bang Theory and the Simpsons. He wrote a book called “A Brief History of Time ” which has sold over 10 million copies! He also knew and extolled the power of not giving up, he knew perseverance, he told us not to look at our feet but look at the stars. Here is his direct quote: “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
For more of his brilliant and insightful quotes, see here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/science/2018/mar/14/best-stephen-hawking-quotes-quotations
He was amazing, his brain was beyond brilliant.
What do you say when the most intelligent man on earth, literally the most intelligent man is gone? We were so lucky to have him. We will miss him so very much.
Yes, feeling blue. Fighting it. Must start taking L-methyl folate, since I lack the enzyme (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase MTHFR for short haha) which is necessary to convert it from folate. This will help my mood. I can’t take SSRI’s because they make me cycle too much. Going to start taking it immediately as well as vitamin D2 because my levels are abysmal and hope this down, dark, drab, dull, dreary, dismal, depressed mood goes away. Visiting worthlessness, meaninglessness, tiredness all of a sudden. Get blindsided every time. Fighting it though. And as always, I will win!
And I’m telling you it’s nothing good! Don’t stop exercising! It’s not only good for your body, it’s really good for your brain as well !
Again! Another immunological link to mental illness. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, meaning your own immune system attacks your joints and connective tissue, and people who have RA have a higher prevalence of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. My family is a prime example, my grandmother had RA, my mother had Lupus and RA, I have food sensitivities, all of these are due to the immune system, and my mother had major depression, I have bipolar 1 disorder and my grandmother, although not formally diagnosed, may have had a few mental health conditions. I know this is only one family but please look at the article below. The link between the immune system and mental illness is real. I hope there will be a better understanding and better therapies due to this understanding soon!
Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder more prevalent among patients with RA
To determine the incidence and prevalence of various psychiatric disorders and conditions among patients with RA compared with those without RA in the general population, the researchers studied health data from Manitoba. They identified 10,206 cases of incident RA between 1989 and 2012, as well as a general-population cohort of 50,960 individuals, and matched the two groups 5:1 based on birth year, sex and region.
Researchers found that psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, were more common among patients with rheumatoid arthritis compared with the general population.
In addition, the researchers used validated algorithms for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia to find the annual incidence of these conditions following an RA diagnosis, as well as their lifetime and annual prevalence..
According to the researchers, after adjusting for age, sex, region, number of physician visits and year, patients with a diagnosis of RA demonstrated a greater incidence of depression throughout the study period (IRR = 1.46; 95% CI, 1.35-1.58). Patients with RA also had great incidences of anxiety (IRR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.15-1.34) and bipolar disorder (IRR = 1.21; 95% CI, 1-1.47). However, schizophrenia incidence did not differ between the two groups. Lifetime and annual prevalence of depression and anxiety were also greater among patients with RA, compared with the general-population cohort.
“Over a lifetime, more than one-third of persons with rheumatoid arthritis are likely to experience depression, and 45% are likely to experience an anxiety disorder,” Marrie said. “Given the very high prevalence of psychiatric disorders in rheumatoid arthritis, clinicians need to be proactive about identifying and treating these conditions appropriately. Clinicians should be aware that women, and those of lower socioeconomic status are at particularly increased risk of these disorders.” – by Jason Laday