Socioemotional Functioning in Depression

University of Edinburgh, and Royal Edinburgh Hospital
DOI: 10.1002/9780470696385.ch4 In book: Mood Disorders: A Handbook of Science and Practice, pp.61 - 77
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiac vagal control, as measured by indices of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), has been investigated as a marker of impaired self-regulation in mental disorders, including depression. Past work in depressed samples has focused on deficits in resting RSA levels, with mixed results. This study tested the hypothesis that depression involves abnormal RSA fluctuation. RSA was measured in depressed and healthy control participants during rest and during two reactivity tasks, each followed by a recovery period. Relative to controls, depressed persons exhibited lower resting RSA levels as well as less RSA fluctuation, primarily evidenced by a lack of task-related vagal suppression. Group differences in RSA fluctuation were not accounted for by differences in physical health or respiration, whereas group differences in resting RSA level did not survive covariate analyses. Depression may involve multiple deficits in cardiac vagal control.
    Psychophysiology 06/2007; 44(3):450-8. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study, we used fMRI to assess patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression, and trauma-exposed controls, during an episodic memory retrieval task that included non-trauma-related emotional information. In the study phase of the task neutral pictures were presented in emotional or neutral contexts. Participants were scanned during the test phase, when they were presented with old and new neutral images in a yes/no recognition memory task. fMRI results for the contrast between old and new items revealed activation in a predominantly left-sided network of cortical regions including the left middle temporal, bilateral posterior cingulate, and left prefrontal cortices. Activity common to all three groups when correctly judging pictures encoded in emotional contexts was much more limited. Relative to the control and depressed groups the PTSD group exhibited greater sensitivity to correctly recognised stimuli in the left amygdala/ventral striatum and right occipital cortex, and more specific sensitivity to items encoded in emotional contexts in the right precuneus, left superior frontal gyrus, and bilateral insula. These results are consistent with a substantially intact neural system supporting episodic retrieval in patients suffering from PTSD. Moreover, there was little indication that PTSD is associated with a marked change in the way negatively valenced information, not of personal significance, is processed.
    Brain and Cognition 08/2008; 69(1):98-107. · 2.82 Impact Factor

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