Increased Error-Related Brain Activity in Youth with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Other Anxiety Disorders.

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 530 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Electronic address: .
Neuroscience Letters (Impact Factor: 2.06). 05/2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.02.017

ABSTRACT The error-related negativity (ERN) is a negative deflection in the event-related potential after an
incorrect response that is thought to reflect activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and is
often increased in patients with anxiety disorders. This study measured the ERN and correct
response negativity (CRN) during an Eriksen flanker task to assess performance monitoring in
26 youth with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), 13 youth with a non-OCD anxiety disorder
consisting of either generalized anxiety disorder or separation anxiety disorder, and 27 agematched
healthy controls ranging in age from 8 to 16 years. Compared to healthy controls, ERN
amplitude was significantly increased in patients with either OCD or a non-OCD anxiety
disorder. There were no significant group differences in CRN amplitude. Treatment with a
serotonergic antidepressant or cognitive-behavior therapy had no effect on the ERN in patients.
Scores from the Child Behavior Checklist DSM-oriented anxiety problems scale had a
significant correlation with ERN amplitude in all subjects. The results provide further evidence
that the pathophysiology of OCD and some non-OCD anxiety disorders involves increased ACC
activity and that the ERN may serve as a quantitative phenotype in genetic and longitudinal
studies of these complex traits.

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