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Scientists may have an insight into what sadness is in the brain.
A study of 21 people found that the feeling down related to more communication between emotional and emotional brain areas, a California University team, San Francisco said Thursday in the magazine Cell.
"One network that would be over would tell us if they were feeling happy or sad," said Vikaas Sohal, a psychiatric associate professor at UCSF.
The perception could lead to a better understanding of mood disorders, and maybe new ways of handling.
Previous research had established that sadness and other emotions include amygdala, alpha shaped mass that is found in each side of the brain. And there was also evidence that the hippocampus, which is related to memory, can play a part in emotion.
But Sohal and the other researchers were curious about exactly what these and other brain areas do when someone's mood moves.
"We really want to come in, you know, when you feel sick or feel happy, what's wrong with you? ; Surely happens in the brain in those seconds, "said Sohal.
You can not get that information from brain scans, which do not hold changes that occur in second fractions. Thus, the team studied 21 people in hospital waiting for brain surgery for severe epilepsy.
Before the surgery, doctors insert small wires to the brain and monitor their electrical activity for up to a week.
Sohal said the team hoped that those recordings would help answer a basic question: "When patients sit there, or watch TV or talk to their family or & Stunned or worried, which parts of the brain talk to each other? "
Patients agreed to keep a running record of their mood. The team went to see if some moods were compatible with communication in specific networks in the brain.
The researchers thought they could find similar networks in a few people. But they were "really surprised" to learn that 13 of the 21 patients had shared the same network, said Sohal.
Still, he says, makes sense that communication between memory-related areas and emotions is related to sadness. "You may feel low and so you'll start remembering times in your life when bad things have happened, or if you start remembering it Those experiences and that's what makes you feel down, "he said.
The study could not confirm that. He could not also show whether the increase in communication was the result of a change of fun or one's case.
However, Sohal says that the discovery can bring comfort to people with low depression.
"As a psychiatrist, it's very powerful to be able to tell patients only," Hey, I know that something happens in your brain when you feel & # 39; low. & # 39; "
In one sense, the new study confirms the results of early animal research, says Dr. Joshua Gordon, who is the director of the National Institute for Mental Health.
"We've found a circuit, a piece of the brain that we knew was already about mood – that's a smaller part than a wow," he said. "The wow part is that it is in humans."
The study also provides a detailed map of what is happening in the human brain, which is what doctors and scientists need to look for better treatments for patients with mood disorders.
"It's very important that we find that the circuits are a basic mood so that we can learn more about them and handle them with tools that we develop that are aimed at circuits." Those tools include magnetic transient stimulation, which uses ponds of energy provided through the skull to change the activity of brain circuits.
The study also shows the value of the BRAIN Initiative, launched by President Obama in 2013, says Gordon.
"The aims of the BRAIN Enterprise are to develop the tools that we can use for unprecedented access, and the understanding of the brain," said Gordon. "This study does both".
The research team's funding came in part by the Defense Defense Research Agency Agency, a major supporter of the BRAIN Enterprise.