Targeted brain stimulation bores away social pain

Targeted brain stimulation bores away social pain. Credit: Zhao et al., JNeurosci 2020

Treatment can improve emotional regulation for people with psychiatric illnesses.

According to a recent study, pairing brain stimulation with a single emotion control method dulls negative emotions JNeurosci. The combination can improve emotional regulation in people with psychiatric illnesses.

Managing your emotions is a key component to acting in difficult situations. People with psychiatric disorders like it PTSD and depression struggles to do so. The brain regulates sensations through the dorsolateral (DLPFC) and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC). The two regions are working by re-interpreting the situation by changing the focus, respectively. Taking advantage of the independent, distinct roles of these regions may offer a new treatment for the emotional symptoms of psychiatric illness.

Zhao et al. developed brain activity in healthy adults using transcranial magnetic stimulation when looking at images of social pain. Participants assessed their negative emotions only after watching the image, distracting themselves, or coming up with a positive interpretation of the image (re-evaluation). Stimulation of both parts of the prefrontal cortex reduced negative emotions and the effects lasted up to an hour. Pairing DLPFC stimulation with a distraction strategy and VLPFC stimulation with a reassessment strategy further reduced negative emotions. This suggests that combining appropriate brain stimulation with appropriate regulatory strategies can develop emotional reactions in psychiatric illnesses.

Reference: “Against VLPFC and DLPFC in low regulation of social regulation using revaluation and distraction strategies” December 21, 2020, Journal of Neuroscience.
DOI: 10.1523 / JNEUROSCI.1906-20.2020

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