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    Life StyleNew research maps the brain areas fueling mood swings in bipolar disorder

    New research maps the brain areas fueling mood swings in bipolar disorder


    New Insights into What Drives Mood Swings in Bipolar Disorder

    Researchers have shed light on the specific brain regions underlying the extreme and unpredictable shifts in mood experienced by those living with bipolar disorder. A recent study published in Biological Psychiatry Global Open Science pinpointed key areas of the brain impacted during moments of changing mood.

    We all experience fluctuations in how we feel from one minute to the next. However, for those with bipolar disorder, these mood swings can escalate quickly resulting in prolonged periods of overly low or high emotions. Understanding what drives these dramatic mood changes could help advance treatment options.

    In the study, brain scans were conducted on individuals with bipolar disorder and a control group as they participated in a gamified task involving potential monetary wins or losses. The brain's reward system, centered around a region called the ventral striatum, showed a stronger response to wins in those with bipolar compared to the control participants.

    Interestingly, the communication between the ventral striatum and another area tied to mood awareness, the anterior insula, was weaker for the bipolar group. This suggests an impaired ability to separate their changing feelings from how pleasurable or exciting experiences felt in the moment.

    When on a winning streak, it's thought the same mechanism enhancing positive mood for the bipolar participants may also intensify negative feelings should outcomes turn against them. The findings offer clues about why mood changes can escalate out of control in bipolar disorder, with expectations biasing how future events are interpreted.

    With a better understanding of the specific brain circuits involved, researchers hope future treatments can target restoring balance. By helping manage the link between emotions and perceptions, people with bipolar disorder may experience more stability during their mood highs and lows. Additional studies are still needed but this new evidence brings us closer to improving lives impacted by this condition.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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