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16:00 - 17:00 25 November 2015

Is Depression Caused by a Hyperactive Habenula?


room 508 | Roberts Building (link Map)
Malet Place | London | WC1E 7JE | United Kingdom

Open to: Alumni | Academic | Student
Ticketing: Open

Speaker: Jonathan Roiser, Reader in Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

A decade of research has revealed a key role for the habenula, a small structure adjacent to the thalamus, in the brain's processing of aversive stimuli. Not only does the habenula respond to such stimuli, it also inhibits midbrain dopamine neuron firing and its stimulation can drive conditioned place avoidance. Based on these findings, many investigators have suggested that habenula hyperactivity may play a role in depression, and this hypothesis is supported by work in animal models. However, the habenula hyperactivity hypothesis of depression has yet to be tested directly in humans, possibly due to the habenula's small size, which makes its measurement challenging. I will present two studies, both of which use a basic computational approach to examine the role of the habenula in humans, and whether it is hyperactive in depression.


Berni Courtney
Please email | b.courtney@ucl.ac.uk


Jonathan Roiser