INTRODUCTION: One of the most difficult dilemmas in relationship science and couple therapy concerns the interaction between sexual desire and love. As two mental states of intense longing for union with others, sexual desire and love are, in fact, often difficult to disentangle from one another. AIM: The present review aims to help understand the differences and similarities between these two mental states using a comprehensive statistical meta-analyses of all functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies on sexual desire and love.
The neural mechanisms underlying the antinociceptive effects of hypnosis still remain unclear. Using a parametric single-trial thulium-YAG laser fMRI paradigm, we assessed changes in brain activation and connectivity related to the hypnotic state as compared to normal wakefulness in 13 healthy volunteers. Behaviorally, a difference in subjective ratings was found between normal wakefulness and hypnotic state for both non-painful and painful intensity-matched stimuli applied to the left hand.
We have evaluated a three-dimensional localized spectroscopic imaging sequence that uses two pairs of adiabatic full-passage pulses, which optimizes the detection of glutamate resonances at moderate echo times. This sequence provides excellent volume localization while simultaneously reducing J-modulation losses of glutamate. We have simulated the performance of this sequence for glutamate and used it to quantitatively measure glutamate in the human hippocampus using a linear components model.
The clinical phenotype of Huntington's disease (HD) is far more complex and variable than depictions of it as a progressive movement disorder dominated by neostriatal pathology represent. The availability of novel neuro-imaging methods has enabled us to evaluate cerebral cortical changes in HD, which we have found to occur early and to be topographically selective. What is less clear, however, is how these changes influence the clinical expression of the disease.
Recent advances in placebo research have demonstrated the mind's power to alter physiology. In this study, we combined an expectancy manipulation model with both verum and sham acupuncture treatments to address: 1) how and to what extent treatment and expectancy effects - including both subjective pain intensity levels (pain sensory ratings) and objective physiological activations (fMRI) - interact; and 2) if the underlying mechanism of expectancy remains the same whether placebo treatment is given alone or in conjunction with active treatment.
The brain and the cardiovascular system influence each other during the processing of emotion. The study of the interactions of these systems during emotion regulation has been limited in human functional neuroimaging, despite its potential importance for physical health. We have previously reported that mental expertise in cultivation of compassion alters the activation of circuits linked with empathy and theory of mind in response to emotional stimuli.
It is well established that pacemaker neurons in the brainstem provide automatic control of breathing for metabolic homeostasis and survival. During waking spontaneous breathing, cognitive and emotional demands can modulate the intrinsic brainstem respiratory rhythm. However the neural circuitry mediating this modulation is unknown.
Anhedonia, the reduced propensity to experience pleasure, is a promising endophenotype and vulnerability factor for several psychiatric disorders, including depression and schizophrenia. In the present study, we used resting electroencephalography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and volumetric analyses to probe putative associations between anhedonia and individual differences in key nodes of the brain's reward system in a non-clinical sample.
It is well established that expectation can significantly modulate pain perception. In this study, we combined an expectancy manipulation model and fMRI to investigate how expectation can modulate acupuncture treatment. Forty-eight subjects completed the study. The analysis on two verum acupuncture groups with different expectancy levels indicates that expectancy can significantly influence acupuncture analgesia for experimental pain.
Controversy remains regarding the mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia. A prevailing theory, largely unproven in humans, is that it involves the activation of endogenous opioid antinociceptive systems and mu-opioid receptors (MORs). This is also a neurotransmitter system that mediates the effects of placebo-induced analgesia. This overlap in potential mechanisms may explain the lack of differentiation between traditional acupuncture and either non-traditional or sham acupuncture in multiple controlled clinical trials.