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REGULAR ARTICLES   |    
Patterns of Cortico-Limbic Activations During Visual Processing of Sad Faces in Depression Patients: A Coordinate-Based Meta-Analysis
Chien-Han Lai, M.D.
The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2014;26:34-43. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.12060143
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From the Dept. of Psychiatry, Cheng Hsin General Hospital, Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC, and
Dept. of Biomedical Imaging and Radiological Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.

Send correspondence to Dr. Lai; e-mail: stephenlai99@gmail.com

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association

Received June 07, 2012; Revised January 03, 2013; Accepted January 09, 2013.

Abstract

The author retrieved 10 functional magnetic resonance imaging studies about visual tasks for emotional faces in subjects with depression. The activation foci were then summarized and entered into a coordinate-based meta-analysis. The depression group showed significantly increased activations in the left striatum and left parahippocampal gyrus; the control group showed increased activations in the left medial frontal gyrus, left middle frontal gyrus, right thalamus, left anterior cingulate, and superior frontal gyrus. The study suggests that depression patients have limbic activations, and controls have fronto-thalamic activations with visual processing of emotional faces.

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FIGURE 1. Clusters of Activations During Visual Processing of Emotional Faces in Different Groups

Upper panel showed significantly increased activations of likelihood in left striatum (Talairach coordinates [−19, 12, 7]) and left parahippocampal gyrus (Talairach coordinates [−11, −8, −10]) in the “Depression Versus Control” group. Middle and lower panels demonstrated the significant clusters of activations in “Control Versus Depression” group. Middle panel showed activations over left superior frontal gyrus (Talairach coordinates [2, 30, 48]) and left middle frontal gyrus (Talairach coordinates [−22, −28, 43]). Lower panel showed activations in left medial frontal gyrus (Talairach coordinates [−10, 24, 45]), right thalamus (Talairach coordinates [10, −21, 5]), left anterior cingulate cortex (Talairach coordinates [0, 33, 16]). Areas with hot (lighter) colors showed more statistically significant difference levels than those with cooler (darker) colors.

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TABLE 1.Demographic and Clinical Characteristics of the Eight Selected Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis of “Depression Versus Control” Groups
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TABLE 2.Demographic and Clinical Characteristics of the Eight Selected Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis of “Control Versus Depression” Groups
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