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Clinical depression linked to abnormal emotional brain circuits
Date:8/14/2007

tion they just think more about the emotional content of the images. Perhaps it's quite maladaptive for them... instead of turning down their emotional responses possibly they turn up their emotional responses."

The results of this study may help identify appropriate treatment methods for people with depression, who represent a diverse patient population, says senior study author Richard Davidson.

Common psychological therapies use mental strategies similar to those used in this study, he says, and although psychotherapy might benefit patients who found conscious efforts effective in the scenarios provided in this study, it could be counterproductive for those patients whose mental efforts increased their emotional responses.

"Our results suggest that there is a subgroup of patients with depression for whom traditional cognitive therapy may be contraindicated," Davidson says. "Other therapeutic interventions may benefit this subgroup more than cognitive therapy, though this remains to be studied in future research."

Identifying the involvement of emotional brain circuits may also help focus the development of new treatment strategies for depression and other psychiatric disorders. "Emotional regulation underlies many psychiatric disorders, not only depression," Johnstone says.

Long term, he says, "If we understand where the brain circuits are that are important and how they are involved in regulating emotion, then we can target them with different types of therapies."


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Contact: Tom Johnstone
itjohnstone@wisc.edu
608-263-2743
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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