a1 Center for Epidemiologic Studies, National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, Maryland, USA
Depressed affect as a cause of associated somatic problems is explored by means of data on affect, appetite, energy, and sleep collected from a community sample and from subsamples contacted after each of several time lags. The analysis of the data indicates that depressed affect is a cause of the major somatic problems associated with it. It is suspected that depressed affect involves continuing high density neural firing which, over a period of months, causes a reduction of post- synaptic biogenic amine receptor cell sensitivity in the brainstem, with the diencephalon as the major site. This results in a functional impairment responsible for the somatic problems.
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Berthold Brenner, Center for Epidemiologic Studies, National Institute of Mental Health, Room 10C-O9, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Md 20857, USA.