Brain Disconnections Could Be Cause of Musical Anhedonia
By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 17 Jan 2017
Image: Researchers analyzed fMRI data and discovered that specific musical anhedonics show a reduction in Nucleus Accumbens activity, while listening to music (Photo courtesy of Hans Braxmeier).
Researchers have discovered that musical anhedonia, may be related to reduced functional connectivity between cortical regions in the brain that are responsible for processing sound, and reward-related subcortical regions.
The researchers recruited 56 healthy participants for their study and used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data to try to understand where specific musical anhedonia originates. Participants were required to complete and then listen to music clips while inside an fMRI machine. The participants provided pleasure ratings while listening to the music.
The researchers conducting the study published in the November 2016 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were from the University of Barcelona, and from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University McGill University.
The researchers analyzed the fMRI data and found that specific musical anhedonics presented reduced activity of the Nucleus Accumbens while listening to music. This group also showed reduced functional connectivity between auditory processing-related cortical regions of the brain, and the Nucleus Accumbens. On the other hand the subjects with high musical sensitivity showed enhanced connectivity. The results demonstrated that those subjects insensible to music were still responsive to other stimuli. This suggests different reward pathways for different stimuli.
One of the paper’s co-authors, Robert Zatorre, MNI neuroscientist, said, "These findings not only help us to understand individual variability in the way the reward system functions, but also can be applied to the development of therapies for treatment of reward-related disorders, including apathy, depression, and addiction."