Navigation Links
Pain from the brain
Date:2/24/2013

Psychogenic diseases, formerly known as 'hysterical' illnesses, can have many severe symptoms such as painful cramps or paralysis but without any physical explanation. However, new research from the University of Cambridge and UCL (University College London) suggests that individuals with psychogenic disease, that is to say physical illness that stems from emotional or mental stresses, do have brains that function differently. The research was published today, 25 February, in the journal Brain.

Psychogenic diseases may look very similar to illnesses caused by damage to nerves, the brain or the muscles, or similar to genetic diseases of the nervous system. However, unlike organic diseases, psychogenic diseases do not have any apparent physical cause, making them difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat.

"The processes leading to these disorders are poorly understood, complex and highly variable. As a result, treatments are also complex, often lengthy and in many cases there is poor recovery. In order to improve treatment of these disorders, it is important to first understand the underlying mechanism," said Dr James Rowe from the University of Cambridge.

The study looked at people with either psychogenic or organic dystonia, as well as healthy people with no dystonia. Both types of dystonia caused painful and disabling muscle contractions affecting the leg. The organic patient group had a gene mutation (the DYT1 gene) that caused their dystonia. The psychogenic patients had the symptoms of dystonia but did not have any physical explanation for the disease, even after extensive investigations.

The scientists performed PET brain scans on the volunteers at UCL, to measure the blood flow and brain activity of both of the groups, and healthy volunteers. The participants were scanned with three different foot positions: resting, moving their foot, and holding their leg in a dystonic position. The electrical activity of the leg muscles was measured at the same time to determine which muscles were engaged during the scans.

The researchers found that the brain function of individuals with the psychogenic illness was not normal. The changes were, however, very different from the brains of individuals with the organic (genetic) disease.

Dr Anette Schrag, from UCL, said: "Finding abnormalities of brain function that are very different from those in the organic form of dystonia opens up a way for researchers to learn how psychological factors can, by changing brain function, lead to physical problems."

Dr Rowe added: "What struck me was just how very different the abnormal brain function was in patients with the genetic and the psychogenic dystonia. Even more striking was that the differences were there all the time, whether the patients were resting or trying to move."

Additionally, the researchers found that one part of the brain previously thought to indicate psychogenic disease is unreliable: abnormal activity of the prefrontal cortex was thought to be the hallmark of psychogenic diseases. In this study, the scientists showed that this abnormality is not unique to psychogenic disease, since activity was also present in the patients with the genetic cause of dystonia when they tried to move their foot.

Dr Arpan Mehta, from the University of Cambridge, said: "It is interesting that, despite the differences, both types of patient had one thing in common - a problem at the front of the brain. This area controls attention to our movements and although the abnormality is not unique to psychogenic dystonia, it is part of the problem."

This type of illness is very common. Dr Schrag said: "One in six patients that see a neurologist has a psychogenic illness. They are as ill as someone with organic disease, but with a different cause and different treatment needs. Understanding these disorders, diagnosing them early and finding the right treatment are all clearly very important. We are hopeful that these results might help doctors and patients understand the mechanism leading to this disorder, and guide better treatments."


'/>"/>

Contact: Genevieve Maul
gm349@admin.cam.ac.uk
44-012-237-65542
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. WUSTL researcher gets $2.25 million grant to better understand traumatic brain injury
2. Has evolution given humans unique brain structures?
3. Case Western Reserve University joins BrainGate clinical trial
4. Rutgers neuroscientist sheds light on cause for chemo brain
5. FDA Panel to Consider Brain Stimulator for Epilepsy
6. Brains of Fetuses Build a Bridge Between Regions, Images Show
7. Children with brain lesions able to use gestures important to language learning
8. First signals from brain nerve cells with ultrathin nanowires
9. Momentum builds in quest to find cure for childhood brain disease
10. Fluorescent Tracer Lights Up Brain Tumor for Surgery
11. Damage to Tiny Blood Vessels in Brain May Raise Alzheimers Risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... ... Houston Healthconnect’s (Healthconnect) regional health information exchange, which enables physicians at SJMC’s two ... their patients from other participating organizations in the exchange. SJMC’s membership in the ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... CallTrackingMetrics's ... advertising campaigns, to monitor the performance of sales and support staff, and to ... revenue. The software allows customers to record, transcribe, route, document, and report on ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... ... The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), an annual conference for international ... travel, spa and beauty in Europe. The organization asked its partner experts in Europe ... researchers - to forecast where wellness is headed in Europe. Predictions range from European ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Interest is on the rise for using the CRISPR-Cas9 system ... for RNAi hit validation. A key reason may be that high-throughput synthesis—combined with a ... RNA (crRNA) collections in arrayed formats. , Arrayed crRNA screens have ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... , ... May 31, 2016 , ... Dr. Charles A. ... Dentistry of New Jersey in the class of 1986, where he graduated in the ... at his current location in Livingston since 1989. He has been a member in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/30/2016)... 30, 2016 Eye expert s ... babies to seek an eye examination ...   Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, the first ... London , has identified premature babies as a special concern ... their particular vulnerability to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). ROP is a ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... , May 27, 2016 ... innovative biopharma company focused on the highly lucrative ... a substantial pipeline of potential first-in-class or best-in-class ... are in development with strategic partners. HCM,s profitable ... fast-growing domestic market. We expect progress of the ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 According to ... Waste Management Market - U.S. Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, ... market in the U.S. was valued at US$ 5.89 Bn ... of 3.4% from 2015 to 2023 to reach US$ 7.99 ... of current and emerging needle free drug delivery devices and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: