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There appears to be some evidence showing that depression unlocks the brain’s “hate circuit”. This new study, led by Professor Jianfeng Feng from the University of Warwick’s Department of Computer Science, shows that the three elements of the brain which must be interacting to create feelings of loathing somehow disengage when a person is depressed. It’s not entirely understood why.
The article they wrote is entitled “Depression Uncouples Brain Hate Circuit” and is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
MRI scans showed the brains of 39 depressed people and 37 control subjects. There were significant differences in the brain circuitry of each group. The biggest difference was the activity in the “hate circuit”. And other broken circuits were discovered as well. The circuits related to risk and action response, reward and emotion, attention and memory processing all showed some disruption.
In 2008 the “hate circuit” was discovered by UCL Professor Semir Zeki. He found that a circuit connected activity in three regions in the brain when subjects were shown pictures of people the hated. The circuit is created by the superior frontal gyrus, insula and putamen.
“The results are clear but at first sight are puzzling as we know that depression is often characterized by intense self-loathing and there is no obvious indication that depressives are less prone to hate others,” said Professor Feng. “Depressed patients. . . have problems controlling negative thoughts and so a potential hypothesis is that the functional uncoupling in this circuit may be contributing to impaired cognitive control over pervasive internal feelings of self-loathing or hatred towards others and/or external circumstances.”
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Molecular Psychiatry
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