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Cerebellar responses during anticipation of noxious stimuli in subjects recovered from depression: Functional magnetic resonance imaging study

  • Katharine A. Smith (a1), Alexander Ploghaus (a2), Philip J. Cowen (a3), Jenny M. McCleery (a3), Guy M. Goodwin (a3), Stephen Smith (a4), Irene Tracey (a4) and Paul M. Matthews (a4)...
Abstract
Background

Subjects recovered from depression have a substantial risk for recurrence of depression, suggesting persistent abnormalities in brain activity.

Aims

To test whether women recovered from depression show abnormal brain activity in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a conditioning paradigm with a noxious pain stimulus.

Method

Ten unmedicated women who had recovered from major depression and eight healthy control women each received either noxious hot or non-noxious warm stimuli, the onset of which was signalled by a specific coloured light during 3-tesla echo planar imaging-based fMRI.

Results

Similar patterns of brain activation were found during painful stimulation for both patients and healthy controls. However, relative to healthy controls, subjects recovered from depression showed a reduced response in the cerebellum during anticipation of the noxious stimulus compared with anticipation of the non-noxious stimulus.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that abnormal cerebellar function could be a marker of vulnerability to recurrent depression. This could provide a new target for therapeutic interventions.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor Paul Matthews, Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, Department of Clinical Neurology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1865 222493; fax +44 (0) 1865 222717; e-mail: paul@fmrib.ox.ac.uk
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Cerebellar responses during anticipation of noxious stimuli in subjects recovered from depression: Functional magnetic resonance imaging study

  • Katharine A. Smith (a1), Alexander Ploghaus (a2), Philip J. Cowen (a3), Jenny M. McCleery (a3), Guy M. Goodwin (a3), Stephen Smith (a4), Irene Tracey (a4) and Paul M. Matthews (a4)...
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