May 31


Multiple brain regions moderate and link depressive mood and pain

By Margaret

May 31, 2019

When someone has depression, the parts of his brain that regulates mood is seen to have diminished functionality and this is why several research has shown that people who are depressed have a lesser ability to govern their ruminative thought processes. Some researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in a research paper that is published online and that soon will be in print, has sought out to deepen and understand more about the processes that are causing this effect and they have sought out to identify the areas of the brain that will motivate and drive the expression of specific moods and how that is related to one’s perception of specific pain stimuli. The team found that areas that monitor sensory input and were responsible for the function of executive regions of the brain were directly involved in the feelings of pain and also perceiving negative mood whether they are in the high or low levels. The researchers said that the results greatly surprised them as they explored the regions of the brain that deal with both mood and pain. They realized that pain regions in the brain were also involved in facilitating lower pain and depression. Regulating pain regions were also implicated in decreasing bouts of depression.

Key Takeaways:

  • Depression has long been linked to lowered activity in areas of the human brain that are assumed to aid in regulating mood.
  • It is this dampening effect on mood-regulating brain centers that may be at the root of why depressed individuals are unable to ruminate effectively.
  • New research data shows that the prefrontal cortex, which manages highly important brain functions like memory and cognition, also moderates pain perception.

“They found that patients with higher levels of depressive mood exhibited heightened sensitivity to experimental pain, with greater activation in all the involved brain regions.”

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