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Yale, OK, United States

Barrett L.F.,Northeastern University | Barrett L.F.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Simmons W.K.,Laureate Institute for Brain Research | Simmons W.K.,University of Tulsa
Nature Reviews Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Intuition suggests that perception follows sensation and therefore bodily feelings originate in the body. However, recent evidence goes against this logic: interoceptive experience may largely reflect limbic predictions about the expected state of the body that are constrained by ascending visceral sensations. In this Opinion article, we introduce the Embodied Predictive Interoception Coding model, which integrates an anatomical model of corticocortical connections with Bayesian active inference principles, to propose that agranular visceromotor cortices contribute to interoception by issuing interoceptive predictions. We then discuss how disruptions in interoceptive predictions could function as a common vulnerability for mental and physical illness. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Inflammation-related changes in the concentrations of kynurenine pathway metabolites occur in depression secondary to medical conditions but are not firmly established in primary mood disorders. Reductions in hippocampal and amygdalar volume that putatively reflect dendritic atrophy are widely reported in major depressive disorder (MDD). Here we tested whether the relative serum concentrations of putatively neuroprotective (kynurenic acid (KA)) and neurotoxic (3-hydroxykynurenine (3HK) and quinolinic acid (QA)) kynurenine pathway metabolites were altered in primary MDD and whether these metabolites were associated with hippocampal and amygdalar volume. A total of 29 moderately to severely depressed unmedicated subjects who met DSM-IV criteria for MDD and 20 healthy controls (HCs) completed a structural MRI scan and provided blood sample for kynurenine metabolite analysis, performed using high-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. Cytokine concentrations were measured with ELISA and gray matter volumes were measured with the automated segmentation software, FreeSurfer. An a priori defined variable of interest, the KA/QA ratio, a putative neuroprotective index, trended lower in the MDD versus the HC group and correlated negatively with anhedonia but positively with the total hippocampal and amygdala volume in the MDD subjects. The post hoc data reduction methods yielded three principal components. Component 1 (interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, QA, and kynurenine) was significantly elevated in MDD participants versus the HCs, whereas component 2 (KA, tryptophan, and kynurenine) was positively correlated with hippocampal and amygdala volume within the MDD group. Our results raise the possibility that an immune-related imbalance in the relative metabolism of KA and QA predisposes to depression-associated dendritic atrophy and anhedonia.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 27 August 2014; doi:10.1038/npp.2014.194.


Paulus M.P.,Laureate Institute for Brain Research
Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences | Year: 2015

The recent literature on cognitive control dysfunctions in depression and anxiety is reviewed with particular emphasis on evidence for proactive and reactive control deficits. Individuals with depression and anxiety show few, if any, specific control deficits, however, there is evidence for non-specific interference that can be related to problems with rumination, worrying, attention and inhibition. Moreover, both electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies provide strong evidence for altered processing during cognitive control paradigms in depression and anxiety. Thus a layered model of control deficits is proposed, which presumes that agent-specific, task-irrelevant factors contribute to cognitive control processing alterations in anxiety and depression. A Bayesian Ideal Observer model is suggested as a possible approach to better disambiguate the dysfunctional processes in depression and anxiety. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Bratman G.N.,Stanford University | Hamilton J.P.,Laureate Institute for Brain Research | Hahn K.S.,Stanford University | Daily G.C.,Stanford University | And 2 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Urbanization has many benefits, but it also is associated with increased levels of mental illness, including depression. It has been suggested that decreased nature experience may help to explain the link between urbanization and mental illness. This suggestion is supported by a growing body of correlational and experimental evidence, which raises a further question: what mechanism(s) link decreased nature experience to the development of mental illness? One such mechanism might be the impact of nature exposure on rumination, a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought that is associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses. We show in healthy participants that a brief nature experience, a 90-min walk in a natural setting, decreases both self-reported rumination and neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (sgPFC), whereas a 90-min walk in an urban setting has no such effects on self-reported rumination or neural activity. In other studies, the sgPFC has been associated with a self-focused behavioral withdrawal linked to rumination in both depressed and healthy individuals. This study reveals a pathway by which nature experience may improve mental well-being and suggests that accessible natural areas within urban contexts may be a critical resource for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world. © 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


Yuan H.,Laureate Institute for Brain Research | He B.,University of Minnesota
IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering | Year: 2014

Many studies over the past two decades have shown that people can use brain signals to convey their intent to a computer using brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). BCI systems extract specific features of brain activity and translate them into control signals that drive an output. Recently, a category of BCIs that are built on the rhythmic activity recorded over the sensorimotor cortex, i.e., the sensorimotor rhythm (SMR), has attracted considerable attention among the BCIs that use noninvasive neural recordings, e.g., electroencephalography (EEG), and have demonstrated the capability of multidimensional prosthesis control. This paper reviews the current state and future perspectives of SMR-based BCI and its clinical applications, in particular focusing on the EEG SMR. The characteristic features of SMR from the human brain are described and their underlying neural sources are discussed. The functional components of SMR-based BCI, together with its current clinical applications, are reviewed. Finally, limitations of SMR-BCIs and future outlooks are also discussed. © 1964-2012 IEEE.

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