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Scientists identify brain abnormalities underlying key element of borderline personality disorder
Date:12/21/2007

NEW YORK (Dec. 20, 2007) -- Using new approaches, an interdisciplinary team of scientists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City has gained a view of activity in key brain areas associated with a core difficulty in patients with borderline personality disorder -- shedding new light on this serious psychiatric condition.

"It's early days yet, but the work is pinpointing functional differences in the neurobiology of healthy people versus individuals with the disorder as they attempt to control their behavior in a negative emotional context. Such initial insights can help provide a foundation for better, more targeted therapies down the line," explains lead researcher Dr. David A. Silbersweig, the Stephen P. Tobin and Dr. Arnold M. Cooper Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and attending psychiatrist and neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The findings are featured in this month's issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Borderline personality disorder is a devastating mental illness that affects between 1 to 2 percent of Americans, causing untold disruption of patients' lives and relationships. Nevertheless, its underlying biology is not very well understood. Hallmarks of the illness include impulsivity, emotional instability, interpersonal difficulties, and a preponderance of negative emotions such as anger -- all of which may encourage or be associated with substance abuse, self-destructive behaviors and even suicide.

"In this study, our collaborative team looked specifically at the nexus between negative emotions and impulsivity -- the tendency of people with borderline personality disorder to 'act out' destructively in the presence of anger," Dr. Silbersweig explains. "Other studies have looked at either negative emotional states or this type of behavioral disinhibition. The two are closel
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Contact: Emily Berlanstein
eab2007@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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