Miriam Klein-Flugge, Brain circuits and wellbeing

The relationship between specific brain circuits and different aspects of mental well-being

Researchers at Oxford University have revealed previously unknown details about how changes in the brain contribute to changes in well-being.

Associate Professor Miriam Klein Flug He and his colleagues studied the brain connectivity and mental health data of nearly 500 people. In particular, they looked at the connection to the amygdala – a brain region known to be important in processing emotions and rewards. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at seven small subsections of the amygdala and their associated networks rather than merging the entire area together as previous studies had done.

The team also adopted a more nuanced approach to mental health data, looking at a large group of healthy people and using questionnaires that captured information about well-being in the social, emotional, sleep and anger domains. This produced more accurate data than many investigations that still use broad diagnoses such as depression or anxiety, which involve many different symptoms.

The paper published in The nature of human behavior, shows how an improved level of detail about both brain connectivity and well-being has made it possible to characterize the precise brain networks that relate to these distinct aspects of mental health. The brain connections that are most important in distinguishing whether an individual has sleep problems, for example, look very different from those that hold information about their social well-being.

Associate Professor Miriam Klein Flug subordinate Department of Experimental Psychologybased in Wellcome Center for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN)“Understanding how changes in the brain relate to changes in well-being is an important step in the journey toward more targeted therapies for mental health,” he said.

We have looked at the brain in much finer divisions than previous research, which is very similar to how the brain is organized, and our results suggest that it may one day be possible to develop highly precise, non-invasive ways to target specific areas of the brain. brain, making future treatments more accurate.

The researchers also found that the nature of specific brain networks differed. For example, they discovered that connectivity in evolutionarily older subcortical circuits is closely related to the tendency to experience negative emotions, while amygdala connectivity with both newer and older cortical circuits clearly contributed to social well-being.

The findings point to the potential benefit of looking at mental well-being and the brain networks involved at a finer scale than before – a measure that closely matches the brain’s functional organization. Although more research is needed, in the future it may be possible to direct treatments to the brain circuits most relevant to an individual’s main symptoms. This possibility is becoming more apparent with the current advances in non-invasive deep brain stimulation methods such as ultrasound, for example.

full sheet,The relationship between amygdala-nuclear connectivity and dimensions of mental health in humansIt can be read in The nature of human behavior.

University publication. This material from the original organization(s)(s) may be of a point in time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The opinions and opinions expressed are those of the author(s). View in full over here.

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