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Cracking the moody brain: The rewards of self starvation

Understanding how the complex molecular mechanisms of the brain can be blighted, and what their role is in neurological disorders, can be an intricate task. The basis of mood alterations and how humans react to a damaged or altered brain circuit can provide clues for new therapies to target the root of these neurological glitches. In 'Bedside to Bench', Daniel Weinberger and Caroline Zink discuss how people with anorexia nervosa showed a connection between self starvation and motivational value—an opposite perspective to the traditional idea linking the absence of joy to the symptoms of this disorder and a new paradigm for developing the appropriate treatments. In 'Bench to Bedside', Dennis Charney and James Murrough peruse how the antidepressant action of ketamine in rats—a neurotrophic effect—can explain the rapid reduction in depression observed in the clinic with this drug. The receptors and signaling cascades involved may be used to develop therapies that may further enhance this rapid beneficial effect.

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Figure 1: A potential biological cascade leading to dopaminergic reinforcement of self starvation in anorexia nervosa.

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Correspondence to Daniel R Weinberger.

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Zink, C., Weinberger, D. Cracking the moody brain: The rewards of self starvation. Nat Med 16, 1382–1383 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm1210-1382

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