One of the ongoing themes of this blog is the nonsensical practice of some researchers in psychiatry of routinely labeling differences seen on brain scans between various diagnostic groups and control subjects as abnormalities.
Just because there is more blood flow to one area of the brain during the performance of certain tasks or a difference in size between various subsections of the more primitive part of the brain, the limbic system, in a group of people who show similar behaviors and symptoms does not automatically mean that this demonstrates a disease process.
|Martie Haselton, Ph.D.|
Depending on the environment, a false negative or a false positive interpretation might prove fatal; hence, it is often best to err consistently in one of these directions.
Another recent study (Ruocco et. al., Biol Psychiatry, 2013;73:153–160) showed that BPD patients demonstrated greater activation within the insula and posterior cingulate cortex. Conversely, they showed less activation than control subjects in a network of regions that extended from the amygdala to the subgenual anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
Abnormalities, or just differences?
The borderline trait of hyper-reactivity often becomes maladaptive in non-family adult social situations because most other people do not react like the family members that produce offspring that show borderline traits.
Unfortunately, for reasons discussed elsewhere in this blog, patients with BPD usually look for people to hang out with that do in fact act like their family members, and, if the others do not act like that, often go out of their way to try to provoke them to react in these ways.