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Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 8999
Experience:  Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
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Two years ago I stopped being able to feel any emotions.

Customer Question

Two years ago I stopped being able to feel any emotions. Cannot even feel love. When someone I love hugs me it just feels like two bodies bumping each other. I've been on medication Zyprexa for schizoeffective disorder. I was on 30mg when I came out of the hospital almost 4tears ago, and today I'm on 3.75mg. I thought it was the Zyprexa but lowering it should have helped. I'm also on 5mg of Celexa. I cannot feel, I'm scared I don't even know how someone can live like this. Would a neurologist be able to look at my brain and see that there ate no emotions? Or no receptors being triggered? Could this be due to a lack of dopamine or serotonin? Even tho I don't feel depressed and I can function. Please help
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 8 months ago.

Hello welcome to JA. I will review your statement and respond shortly. Please read this preliminary answer and reply. Dr Frank

Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 8 months ago.

There are some new imaging modalities that are being used to look at psychiatric disease. It is with mixed results, but both MRI and PET (positron emission tomography) have data from groups of patients with schizoaffective disorder and schizophenia. The way this works: these are grouped studies, so you take a half dozen to a dozen individuals with the same diagnosis (do they have the exact same brain changes or pathology? not really) and you summate their brain images, then compare that grouped brain image to the same number of normal control subjects that are demographically matched. So the changes you see are not individualized but really show a trend.

In MRI, the technique is to look at TDI (tensor diffusion imaging) that looks at white matter tracks as it comes out of the corpus callosum, the area of connections between the two cerebral hemispheres. I will attach a paper about that attempt and the findings.

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.387.3991&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 8 months ago.

In PET, you are able to look at receptor occupancy, which is a function of the number of a certain type of receptor, and its binding capacity to the neurotransmitter (which can also change if the receptor makes a confirmational adjustment). So here is a paper looking at, again, groups of patients that had PET scans done to measure D2 occupancy (using 11C-raclopride) (D2 is one of five different dopamine receptors) and 5-HT2 receptors (serotonin receptors tied to mood and emotional states) using another tracer. Again the paper points out differences between the normal control population and the grouped schizoaffective population.

All of this is important work, but we still don't have a way of modulating the changes we see. So we are really only looking at effects in the brain that are not under our control. So the real science comes from when we are able to change permanently the neurons that make these receptor types to produce binding capacities similar to that seen in normal controls. That can come only through genetic modeling, a very futuristic concept. Here is the PET paper.

http://ils.unc.edu/bmh/neoref/nrschizophrenia/jsp/review/tmp/353.pdf

Please take a look at these papers and get back to me. I will reply. Or if satisfied with this answer, please remember to rate my service by clicking on the rating stars. thanks *****