Increased Amygdala Activations during the Emotional Experience of Death-Related Pictures in Complicated Grief: An fMRI Study
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AuthorFernández-Alcántara, Manuel; Verdejo Román, Juan; Cruz Quintana, Francisco; Pérez García, Miguel; Catena Martínez, Andrés; Fernández Ávalos, María Inmaculada; Pérez Marfil, María Nieves
Functional Magnetic Resonance ImagingPrefrontal cortexGriefEmotionsAmygdala
Fernández-Alcántara, M., Verdejo-Román, J., Cruz-Quintana, F., Pérez-García, M., Catena-Martínez, A., Fernández-Ávalos, M. I., & Pérez-Marfil, M. N. (2020). Increased Amygdala Activations during the Emotional Experience of Death-Related Pictures in Complicated Grief: An fMRI Study. Journal of clinical medicine, 9(3), 851.
SponsorshipThis research was supported by CEI-BioTic (University of Granada), Grant number: CEI2014-MPBS34. and by the Program of Networks-I3CE of Investigation in University Teaching (Program Networks) from the Vice-Rectorate of Quality and Educational Innovation and Education Sciences Institute of the University of Alicante (2018–2019). Ref: 4561. J.V.R and was funded by a Grant from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (FJCI-2017-33396).
Complicated grief (CG) is associated with alterations in various components of emotional processing. The main aim of this study was to identify brain activations in individuals diagnosed with CG while they were observing positive, negative, and death-related pictures. The participants included 19 individuals with CG and 19 healthy non-bereaved (NB) individuals. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans were obtained during an emotional experience task. The perception of death-related pictures differed between the CG group and the NB group, with a greater activation in the former of the amygdala, putamen, hypothalamus, middle frontal gyrus, and anterior cingulate cortex. Amygdala and putamen activations were significantly correlated with Texas Revised Inventory of Grief scores in the CG group, suggesting that the higher level of grief in this group was associated with a greater activation in both brain areas while watching death-related pictures. A significant interaction between image type and group was observed in the amygdala, midbrain, periaqueductal gray, cerebellum, and hippocampus, largely driven by the greater activation of these areas in the CG group when watching death-related pictures and the lower activation when watching positive-valence pictures. In this study, individuals with CG showed significantly distinct brain activations in response to different emotional images.