Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neuroimage. 2008 Aug 15;42(2):969-72. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.04.256. Epub 2008 May 10.

Craving love? Enduring grief activates brain's reward center.

Author information

  • 1Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California at Los Angeles, USA. mfoconnor@mednet.ucla.edu

Abstract

Complicated Grief (CG) occurs when an individual experiences prolonged, unabated grief. The neural mechanisms distinguishing CG from Noncomplicated Grief (NCG) are unclear, but hypothesized mechanisms include both pain-related activity (related to the social pain of loss) and reward-related activity (related to attachment behavior). Bereaved women (11 CG, 12 NCG) participated in an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging scan, during grief elicitation with idiographic stimuli. Analyses revealed that whereas both CG and NCG participants showed pain-related neural activity in response to reminders of the deceased, only those with CG showed reward-related activity in the nucleus accumbens (NA). This NA cluster was positively correlated with self-reported yearning, but not with time since death, participant age, or positive/negative affect. This study supports the hypothesis that attachment activates reward pathways. For those with CG, reminders of the deceased still activate neural reward activity, which may interfere with adapting to the loss in the present.

PMID:
18559294
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2553561
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk