Regional gray matter abnormalities in panic disorder: a voxel-based morphometry study.
ABSTRACT Although abnormalities in brain structures involved in the neurobiology of fear and anxiety have been implicated in the pathophysiology of panic disorder (PD), relatively few studies have made use of voxel-based morphometry (VBM) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine structural brain abnormalities in PD. We have assessed gray matter volume in 19 PD patients and 20 healthy volunteers using VBM. Images were acquired using a 1.5 T MRI scanner, and were spatially normalized and segmented using optimized VBM. Statistical comparisons were performed using the general linear model. A relative increase in gray matter volume was found in the left insula of PD patients compared with controls. Additional structures showing differential increases were the left superior temporal gyrus, the midbrain, and the pons. A relative gray matter deficit was found in the right anterior cingulate cortex. The insula and anterior cingulate abnormalities may be relevant to the pathophysiology of PD, since these structures participate in the evaluation process that ascribes negative emotional meaning to potentially distressing cognitive and interoceptive sensory information. The abnormal brain stem structures may be involved in the generation of panic attacks.
SourceAvailable from: Cindy C Hagan[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We propose a Survival Optimization System (SOS) to account for the strategies that humans and other animals use to defend against recurring and novel threats. The SOS attempts to merge ecological models that define a repertoire of contextually relevant threat induced survival behaviors with contemporary approaches to human affective science. We first propose that the goal of the nervous system is to reduce surprise and optimize actions by (i) predicting the sensory landscape by simulating possible encounters with threat and selecting the appropriate pre-encounter action and (ii) prevention strategies in which the organism manufactures safe environments. When a potential threat is encountered the (iii) threat orienting system is engaged to determine whether the organism ignores the stimulus or switches into a process of (iv) threat assessment, where the organism monitors the stimulus, weighs the threat value, predicts the actions of the threat, searches for safety, and guides behavioral actions crucial to directed escape. When under imminent attack, (v) defensive systems evoke fast reflexive indirect escape behaviors (i.e., fight or flight). This cascade of responses to threat of increasing magnitude are underwritten by an interconnected neural architecture that extends from cortical and hippocampal circuits, to attention, action and threat systems including the amygdala, striatum, and hard-wired defensive systems in the midbrain. The SOS also includes a modulatory feature consisting of cognitive appraisal systems that flexibly guide perception, risk and action. Moreover, personal and vicarious threat encounters fine-tune avoidance behaviors via model-based learning, with higher organisms bridging data to reduce face-to-face encounters with predators. Our model attempts to unify the divergent field of human affective science, proposing a highly integrated nervous system that has evolved to increase the organism's chances of survival.Frontiers in Neuroscience 01/2015; 9:55. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2015.00055
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: It is known that there is a high prevalence of certain anxiety disorders among schizophrenic patients, especially panic disorder and social phobia. However, the neural underpinnings of the comorbidity of such anxiety disorders and schizophrenia remain unclear. Our study aims to determine the neuroanatomical basis of the co-occurrence of schizophrenia with panic disorder and social phobia. Voxel-based morphometry was used in order to examine brain structure and to measure between-group differences, comparing magnetic resonance images of 20 anxious patients, 20 schizophrenic patients, 20 schizophrenic patients with comorbid anxiety, and 20 healthy control subjects. Compared to the schizophrenic patients, we observed smaller grey-matter volume (GMV) decreases in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and precentral gyrus in the schizophrenic-anxiety group. Additionally, the schizophrenic group showed significantly reduced GMV in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, precentral gyrus, orbitofrontal cortex, temporal gyrus and angular/inferior parietal gyrus when compared to the control group. Our findings suggest that the comorbidity of schizophrenia with panic disorder and social phobia might be characterized by specific neuroanatomical and clinical alterations that may be related to maladaptive emotion regulation related to anxiety. Even thought our findings need to be replicated, our study suggests that the identification of neural abnormalities involved in anxiety, schizophrenia and schizophrenia-anxiety may lead to an improved diagnosis and management of these conditions.PLoS ONE 10(3):e0119847. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0119847 · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background Although evidence exists for abnormal brain function across various anxiety disorders, direct comparison of neural function across diagnoses is needed to elicit abnormalities common across disorders and those distinct to a particular diagnosis. Aims To delineate common and distinct abnormalities within generalised anxiety (GAD), panic and social anxiety disorder (SAD) during affective processing. Method Fifty-nine adults (15 with GAD, 15 with panic disorder, 14 with SAD, and 15 healthy controls) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while completing a facial emotion matching task with fearful, angry and happy faces. Results Greater differential right amygdala activation to matching fearful v. happy facial expressions related to greater negative affectivity (i.e. trait anxiety) and was heightened across all anxiety disorder groups compared with controls. Collapsing across emotional face types, participants with panic disorder uniquely displayed greater posterior insula activation. Conclusions These preliminary results highlight a common neural basis for clinical anxiety in these diagnoses and also suggest the presence of disorder-specific dysfunction. Royal College of Psychiatrists.The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science 01/2015; DOI:10.1192/bjp.bp.114.149880 · 7.34 Impact Factor