When Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds
Understanding Grief: : Scientific American
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Losing a loved one is always painful, but for most people time eventually heals the wounds. For about 10 to 20 percent of the bereaved, however, accepting and getting over a loss remains extremely difficult, even years later. Now researchers have come a step closer to elucidating the neurobiological underpinnings of this condition called complicated grief (CG). An August 15 functional MRI study in NeuroImage shows that in CG patients reminders of the deceased activate a brain area associated with reward processing, pleasure and addiction.
A team led by Mary-Frances O’Connor of the University of California, Los Angeles, studied 23 women—11 of whom suffered from CG—who had lost a mother or sister to breast cancer in the past five years. While in the scanner…