An fMRI time-course analysis of brain regions activated during self-stimulation to orgasm in women
Sunday, Nov 14, 2010, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
*B. R. KOMISARUK
, N. J. WISE
, E. FRANGOS
, K. ALLEN
Dept Psychology, Rutgers, The State Univ. of New Jersey, NEWARK, NJ;
Radiology, New Jersey Med. Sch. of UMDNJ, Newark, NJ;
Princeton Neurosci. Inst., Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ
Our previous research on genital self-stimulation in women identified brain regions that are activated during orgasm. These regions include the nucleus accumbens, anterior hypothalamus (in the region of the paraventricular nucleus), amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, insula, hippocampus, cerebellum, and paracentral lobule. In the present study, we extend these findings by analyzing the relative time course of activation of these and other brain regions. We find evidence of differential rates of activation among more than 30 discrete anatomical areas on each of the left and right sides of the brain. Based on preliminary analysis of self-stimulation data, genital sensory cortex, thalamus, motor areas, cerebellum, hypothalamus, and substantia nigra are activated earliest. Closer to the onset of orgasm and continuing through orgasm, frontal cortical regions, entorhinal cortex, cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, and hippocampus become activated. Later in the orgasm, and shortly thereafter, the levels of activation peak in the hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens, and caudate. Thus, leading up to, during, and after orgasm there are marked differences in the temporal profiles of activity (increases and decreases) among specific brain regions. As reported previously (Komisaruk et al, 2004, Brain Research,1024:77) activation evidently occurs in widespread regions throughout the brain during orgasm. The slow time course of the development, duration, and resolution of orgasm (i.e., over seconds and minutes) provides a useful model to elucidate the integration of neural systems mediating the cognitive, emotional, somatic, and visceral components of this intense human experience.
NIH 2R25 GM060826 (BRK)
Rutgers University Research Fund
[Authors]. [Abstract Title]. Program No. XXX.XX. 2010 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. San Diego, CA: Society for Neuroscience, 2010. Online.
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