What We Learned This Week: October 26th, 2012
Check out five interesting, thrilling, frightening and amusing health stories we found this week.
I feel for you, man
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We learned there is a particular area of the brain that helps you empathize with other people’s feelings.
Empathy enables a person to both perceive and share in another person’s emotional state and is a key tool in navigating interpersonal relationships.
Using functional MRI imaging, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York scanned the brains of study participants--some with healthy brains and some with certain brain defects--as they viewed pictures of people in pain.
The scans indicated that the anterior insular cortex of the brain was most active as study participants without brain defects viewed images of people in pain and reported feelings of empathy for the people in the pictures. Participants who had some kind of damage to the anterior insular cortex did not have a strong empathetic response to the images, nor did any other part of their brains respond to the pictures.
By pinpointing the area of the brain that causes empathy, researchers should be better able to diagnose people with psychiatric diseases, such as autism spectrum disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, and conduct disorders.