April 06, 2016

"Some mental illnesses may stem, in part, from the brain’s inability to correctly assign emotional associations to events."

Deep Stuff: For example, people who are depressed often do not feel happy even when experiencing something that they normally enjoy. via Massachusetts Institute of Technology

'A new study from MIT reveals how two populations of neurons in the brain contribute to this process. The researchers found that these neurons, located in an almond-sized region known as the amygdala, form parallel channels that carry information about pleasant or unpleasant events.

'Learning more about how this information is routed and misrouted could shed light on mental illnesses including depression, addiction, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder, says Kay Tye, the Whitehead Career Development Assistant Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a member of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.

'“I think this project really cuts across specific categorizations of diseases and could be applicable to almost any mental illness,” says Tye, the senior author of the study, which appears in the March 31 online issue of Neuron.

'In the long term, the researchers hope their work will lead to new therapies for mental illnesses. “The first step is to define the circuits and then try to go in animal models of these pathologies and see how these circuits are functioning differently. Then we can try to develop strategies to restore them and try to translate that to human patients,” says [Anna] Beyeler, who is soon starting her own lab at the University of Lausanne to further pursue this line of research.'

"Divergent Routing of Positive and Negative Information from the Amygdala during Memory Retrieval" by Anna Beyeler, et al, here

No comments: