BIOS E-232 The Neurobiology of Emotion and Mental Illness
Investigations on the neural basis of emotion and pathophysiology of mental illnesses synergistically inform each other, and in recent years have led to a leap in our understanding of emotion processing in normal and pathological conditions. In this course, the historical concept of the limbic system is used as a background to explore the anatomy, connectivity, and functions of the brain circuits involved in emotional processing. Neural networks linking the medial, cingulate, and orbitofrontal cortices, subcortical regions such as the amygdala, 'limbic' thalamus and the nucleus accumbens, and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis are discussed in light of their relevance to emotion processing and mental disorders. Emerging concepts are emotion processing as a result of complex interacting systems and the relationship between emotion and memory. Current knowledge on the pathophysiology of mental illnesses, with particular emphasis on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, is discussed in the context of these concepts. Emphasis is placed on current strategies to investigate the pathophysiology of these disorders, from postmortem studies to animal and in vitro models, in vivo imaging, clinical trials, and published case reports. Prerequisite: BIOS E-50, or the equivalent.
Spring term (23451)
Sabina Berretta, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.