Reduced Emotion Processing Efficiency in Healthy Males Relative to Females.
ABSTRACT This study examined sex differences in categorization of facial emotions and in activation of brain regionssupportive of those classifications. In Experiment 1, performance on the Facial Emotion Perception Test (FEPT) was examined among 75 healthy females and 63 healthy males. Females were more accurate in the categorization of fearful expressions relative to males. In Experiment 2, 3T fMRI data were acquired for a separate sample of 21 healthy females and 17 healthy males while performing the FEPT. Activation to neutral facial expressions was subtracted from activation to sad, angry, fearful, and happy facial expressions, respectively. Althoughfemales and males demonstrated activation in some overlapping regions for all emotions, many regions were exclusive to females or to males. For anger,sad, and happy, males displayed a larger extent of activation than did females, and greater height of activation was detected in diffuse cortical and subcorticalregions. For fear, males displayed greater activation than females only in right postcentral gyri. With one exception in females, performance was not associated with activation. Results suggest that females and males process emotions using different neural pathways, and these differences cannot be explained by performance variations.
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ABSTRACT: Dyspnea is the highly threatening experience of breathlessness experienced by patients with diverse pathologies, including respiratory, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular diseases, cancer and panic disorder. This debilitating symptom is especially prominent in the elderly and the obese, two growing populations in the Western world. It has further been found that women suffer more strongly from dyspnea than men. Despite optimization of disease-specific treatments, dyspnea is often inadequately treated. The immense burden faced by patients, families and the healthcare system makes improving management of chronic dyspnea a priority. Dyspnea is a multidimensional sensation that encompasses an array of unpleasant respiratory sensations that vary according to underlying cause and patient characteristics. Biopsychological factors beyond disease pathology exacerbate the perception of dyspnea, increase symptom severity and reduce quality of life. Psychological state (especially comorbid anxiety and depression), hormone status, gender, body weight (obesity) and general fitness level are particularly important. Neuroimaging has started to uncover the neural mechanisms involved in the processing of sensory and affective components of dyspnea. Awareness of biopsychological factors beyond pathology is essential for diagnosis and treatment of dyspnea. Increasing understanding the interactions between biopsychological factors and dyspnea perception will enhance the development of symptomatic treatments that specifically address each patient's most pressing needs at a specific stage in life. Future neuroimaging research can provide objective markers to fully understand the role of biopsychological factors in the perception of dyspnea in the hope of uncovering target areas for pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapy.Maturitas 07/2013; 76(1). DOI:10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.06.005 · 2.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objectives Emotion processing, supported by fronto-limbic circuitry known to be sensitive to the effects of aging, is a relatively understudied cognitive-emotional domain in geriatric depression. Some evidence suggests that the neurophysiological disruption observed in emotion processing among adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) may be modulated by both gender and age. Therefore, the present study investigated the effects of gender and age on the neural circuitry supporting emotion processing in MDD. Design Cross-sectional comparison of fMRI signal during performance of an emotion processing task. Setting Outpatient university setting. Participants One hundred adults recruited by MDD status, gender, and age. Measurements Participants underwent fMRI while completing the Facial Emotion Perception Test (FEPT). They viewed photographs of faces and categorized the emotion perceived. Contrast for fMRI was of face perception minus animal identification blocks. Results Effects of depression were observed in precuneus and effects of age in a number of fronto-limbic regions. Three-way interactions were present between MDD status, gender, and age in regions pertinent to emotion processing, including frontal, limbic and basal ganglia. Young women with MDD and older men with MDD exhibited hyperactivation in these regions compared to their respective same-gender healthy comparison (HC) counterparts. In contrast, older women and younger men with MDD exhibited hypoactivation compared to their respective same-gender HC counterparts. Conclusions This the first study to report gender- and age-specific differences in emotion processing circuitry in MDD. Gender-differential mechanisms may underlie cognitive-emotional disruption in older adults with MDD. The present findings have implications for improved probes into the heterogeneity of the MDD syndrome.American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 05/2014; 23(3). DOI:10.1016/j.jagp.2014.05.007 · 3.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objective Verbal memory difficulties are common among individuals with late-life depression (LLD), though there is limited knowledge about disruptions to underlying cerebral circuitry. The purpose of this study is to examine aberrations to cerebral networks implicated in encoding novel verbal semantic material among older adults with LLD. Methods Twenty-four older adults with early-onset LLD and 23 non-depressed comparisons participated in the study. Participants completed a word list-learning task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. ResultsIn the context of equivalent recall and recognition of words following scanning and similar hippocampal volumes, patients with LLD exhibited less activation in structures known to be relevant for new learning and memory, including hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, insula, and cingulate, relative to non-ill comparisons. An important region in which the LLD group displayed greater activation than the non-depressed comparison group was in left inferior frontal gyrus, an area involved in cognitive control and controlled semantic/phonological retrieval and analysis; this region may be critical for LLD patients to consolidate encoded words into memory. Conclusions Functional irregularities found in LLD patients may reflect different modes of processing to-be-remembered information and/or early changes predictive of incipient cognitive decline. Future studies might consider mechanisms that could contribute to these functional differences, including hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning and vascular integrity, and utilize longitudinal designs in order to understand whether functional changes are predictive of incipient cognitive decline. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 11/2014; 29(11). DOI:10.1002/gps.4165 · 3.09 Impact Factor