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Having Problems Controlling Your Anger? Brain Region Connectivity Might Explain Why

Jul 08, 2016 03:10 AM EDT

A new study revealed that weakened connection between regions in the brain associated with language processing, social interaction and sensory input may lead to intermittent explosive disorder (IED) or impulsive aggression.

The study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, showed that the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), the white matter in the region of the brain, has less integrity and density in people with IED compared to those of healthy individuals and others with different psychotic disorder.

The SLF is the one responsible in connecting the brain's frontal lobe to the parietal lobe. The frontal lobe is responsible for decision-making, emotion and understanding consequences of actions while the parietal lobe processes language and sensory input.

For the study, researchers used a form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that measures the volume and density of white matter connective tissue in the brain called diffusion tensor imaging. Researchers believe that connectivity may play an important role in people with psychiatric disorder due to the very few physical differences from healthy individuals.

"It's not so much how the brain is structured, but the way these regions are connected to each other," explained Royce Lee, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study, in a statement. "That might be where we're going to see a lot of the problems in psychiatric disorders, so white matter is a natural place to start since that's the brain's natural wiring from one region to another."

The researchers found out that decreased connectivity between brain regions associated with social interaction might lead to impaired judgment, which in turn may result to sudden outburst of anger. This explains why people with anger issues most likely to misunderstand people's intention in social situations. These people tend to hastily make the wrong conclusions about others intention because they think others may harm them.

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