Effects of self-generated sad mood on regional cerebral activity: A PET study in normal subjects
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This study investigated the cerebral regions modulated by self-generated sad mood in normal subjects. Eleven healthy men experienced a temporary sad mood by recalling sad personal memories. Two control states were used for comparison: a resting condition, and a condition involving the recall of affectively neutral personal events. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) images were obtained using [15O]-H2O Positron Emission Tomography. A statistical comparison of the images during negative mood and neutral recall conditions revealed that sad mood was associated with a decrease in rCBF in the left dorsolateral prefrontal, left medial prefrontal, and left temporal cortex; no increase in activity was noted in this comparison. Our results are consistent with the noted left prefrontal decrease in metabolism found in depressed patients through a variety of methodologies; however, our results contrast with findings of increased left or bilateral prefrontal activity in transient induced negative mood states reported for women (George et al., 1995, Am J Psychiatry 152:341-341) and for mixed-gender (Pardo et al., 1993, Am J Psychiatry 150:713-719) subject groups. The study brings to light a number of methodological issues, including the crucial importance of the baseline condition used for the isolation of the emotional components of a given task.