Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Brain activity reflects differences in types of anxiety

30.05.2007
All anxiety is not created equal, and a research team at the University of Illinois now has the data to prove it. The team has found the most compelling evidence yet of differing patterns of brain activity associated with each of two types of anxiety: anxious apprehension (verbal rumination, worry) and anxious arousal (intense fear, panic, or both).

Their work appears this month online in Psychophysiology.

"This study looks at two facets of anxiety that often are not distinguished," said U. of I. psychology professor Gregory A. Miller, co-principal investigator on the study with psychology professor Wendy Heller. "We had reason to think there were different brain mechanisms, different parts of the brain active at different times, depending on what type of anxiety one is facing."

According to a recent national survey, anxiety disorders are the most commonly reported psychiatric disorders in the U.S. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies nearly a dozen different anxiety disorders, from acute stress disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder to panic attack and PTSD. But those who study and treat patients with anxiety disorders do not always differentiate the patients who worry, fret and ruminate from those who experience the panic, rapid heartbeat or bouts of sweating that characterize anxious arousal. These two kinds of anxiety may occur alone or in combination, with potentially important implications for treatment.

To test whether neural activation patterns supported the hypothesis that these two categories of anxiety are distinct, the researchers selected 42 subjects from a pool of 1,099 undergraduate college students, using psychological tests to categorize them as "high anxious apprehension," "high anxious arousal," or neither.

Other psychological assessments standardized the pool of participants by removing those with mood disorders or other complicating factors.

The researchers used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to map the brain areas with heightened neural activity during a variety of psychological probes.

As the researchers had predicted, the anxious apprehension group exhibited enhanced left-brain activity and the anxious arousal group had heightened activity in the right brain. The anxious apprehension group showed increased activity in a region of the left inferior frontal lobe that is associated with speech production. The anxious arousal group had more activity in a region of the right-hemisphere inferior temporal lobe that is believed to be involved in tracking and responding to information signaling danger.

Other studies using electroencephalographic (EEG) methods had found that patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder had heightened activity in the left brain, whereas patients with panic disorder, panic symptoms or those subjected to high stress situations exhibited enhanced activity in the right hemisphere.

This is the first study, however, to localize the affected regions to identify areas within each hemisphere that seem to matter.

Miller stressed the importance of a related finding: The researchers distinguished the left-brain region involved in anxious apprehension from a nearby structure that is associated with positive emotional processing.

"Left and right is not the only distinction we made," Miller said.
"We did left/right comparisons with groups, but we also did comparisons within the left hemisphere to show that these different areas are doing different things."

"This is biological validation of the proposal of the psychological differentiation of types of anxiety," Miller said. "Whether you want to treat anxiety psychologically or biologically - and we know that either type of intervention affects both the psychology and the biology of the person - these findings are a reminder that you might want to assess people carefully before you embark on a particular type of treatment."

This research is based on a master's thesis submitted by graduate student Anna S. Engels to the U. of I. The work was supported primarily by the National Institute of Mental Health and also by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, both at the National Institutes of Health. Support also was provided by the Beckman Institute, the department of psychology and the Intercampus Research Initiative on Biotechnology at the U. of I.

Miller is affiliated with the Beckman Institute; the department of psychology and the Neuroscience Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and the department of psychiatry in the College of Medicine.

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

Further reports about: Psychology activity anxious apprehension psychological

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>