Monday, October 24, 2005

"Brain ‘buffer’ may control premenstrual moods"

An emotional buffer zone in the brain may not be working as it should in women who experience premenstrual moodiness, a new study suggests.

David Silbersweig and colleagues at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, US, used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of 12 women whose moods remained steady throughout their menstrual cycles.

From 1 to 5 days before menstruation, and 8 to 12 days after, the women’s brains were scanned as they were shown printed words with either negative, neutral, or positive connotations – words like “rape”, “cancer”, “bookcase”, “rotate”, “gentle” and “delighted” – to engage the emotion-processing part of the brain.

At the same time, the women were motivated to complete a simple cognitive task. The scans showed that the orbitofrontal cortex – part of the brain involved in controlling emotions and regulating motivation – was more active during the task in the days before menstruation. After menstruation, that part of the brain was relatively inactive during the task.

Silbersweig says that the difference in brain activity may “buffer” hormonal changes in these women, helping them to maintain a consistent emotional state. “Because this area is kicking in, these women are able to avoid moodiness,” he says.

More @ New Scientist ...

... and 'Orbitofrontal cortex activity related to emotional processing changes across the menstrual cycle' in PNAS


Post a Comment

<< Home