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1.  Diurnal cortisol amplitude and fronto-limbic activity in response to stressful stimuli 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2009;34(5):694-704.
Summary
The development and exacerbation of many psychiatric and neurologic conditions are associated with dysregulation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis as measured by aberrant levels of cortisol secretion. Here we report on the relationship between the amplitude of diurnal cortisol secretion, measured across 3 typical days in 18 healthy individuals, and blood oxygen level dependant (BOLD) response in limbic fear/stress circuits, elicited by in-scanner presentation of emotionally negative stimuli, specifically, images of the World Trade Center (WTC) attack. Results indicate that subjects who secrete a greater amplitude of cortisol diurnally demonstrate less brain activation in limbic regions, including the amygdala and hippocampus/parahippocampus, and hypothalamus during exposure to traumatic WTC-related images. Such initial findings can begin to link our understanding, in humans, of the relationship between the diurnal amplitude of a hormone integral to the stress response, and those neuroanatomical regions that are implicated as both modulating and being modulated by that response.
doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.11.011
PMCID: PMC4250041  PMID: 19135805
Amygdala; Medial prefrontal cortex; Hippocampus; Cortisol; Neuroimaging; Stress
2.  The Impact of Socioeconomic Status on the Neural Substrates Associated with Pleasure 
Low socio-economic status (SES) is associated with increased morbidity and premature mortality. Because tonic adversity relates to a diminished ability to experience pleasure, we hypothesized that subjects living in poverty would show diminished neural responsivity to positive stimuli in regions associated with positive experience and reward. Visual images were presented to twenty-two subjects in the context of a EPI-BOLD fMRI paradigm. Significant differences in neural responses between SES groups to poverty vs. neutral images were assessed, examining group, condition, and interaction effects. The data suggest that persons living in low-SES have neural experiences consistent with diminished interest in things generally enjoyed and point toward a possible explanation for the relationship between socioeconomic inequalities and mood disorders, such as depression, by SES.
doi:10.2174/1874440000903010058
PMCID: PMC2731107  PMID: 19718457
fMRI; depression; mood; stress; socio-economic status.

Results 1-2 (2)