Hwa-Byung (HB) is a Korean culture-bound psychiatric syndrome caused by the suppression of anger. HB patients have various psychological and somatic symptoms, such as chest discomfort, a sensation of heat, and the sensation of having an epigastric mass. In this study, we measured brain activity in HB patients and healthy individuals in response to affective facial stimuli. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the current study measured neural responses to neutral, sad, and angry facial stimuli in 12 healthy individuals and 12 patients with HB. In response to all types of facial stimuli, HB patients showed increased activations in the lingual gyrus and fusiform gyrus compared with healthy persons, but they showed relatively lower activation in the thalamus. We also found that patients with HB showed lower activity in response to the neutral condition in the right ACC than healthy controls. The current study indicates that the suppression of affect results in aberrant function of the brain regions of the visual pathway, and functional impairment in the ACC may contribute to the pathophysiology of HB.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a grant of the Oriental Medicine R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (B050023).
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
- Visual pathway