Scientists may have caught a glimpse of what sadness looks like in the brain.
A study of 21 people found that for most, feeling down was associated with greater communication between brain areas involved in emotion and memory, a team from the University of California, San Francisco reported [November 15].
[T]he team studied 21 people who were in the hospital awaiting brain surgery for severe epilepsy.
Before the surgery, doctors insert tiny wires into the brain and monitor its electrical activity for up to a week.
[Researcher Vikaas] Sohal says the team hoped those recordings would help answer a basic question: “When patients are sitting there, or watching TV or talking with their family or waiting or being anxious, which regions of the brain are talking to each other?”
The patients agreed to keep a running log of their mood. And the team looked to see whether certain moods coincided with communication within specific networks in the brain.
The researchers thought they might find networks that were similar in a couple of people. But they were “really surprised” to learn that 13 of the 21 patients shared the same network.
Sohal says the finding may bring comfort to people with depression.
“As a psychiatrist, it’s incredibly powerful to just be able to say to patients, ‘Hey, I know there’s something happening in your brain when you’re feeling down.’ ”
Read full, original post: Researchers Uncover A Circuit For Sadness In The Human Brain