Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Anatomy Differences Found That Predispose Patients To Anxiety Disorders

Date:
May 11, 2007
Source:
Universitat Jaume
Summary:
A disproportionate feeling of lack of reward, or even punishment, is produced during anxiety disorders. Scientists have discovered that an excessive activation of the so-called "behavioural inhibition system" exists in this type of patients in the face of adverse stimuli.

A study undertaken by researchers of the Universitat Jaume I of Castellσn (UJI), the Universitat Autςnoma of Barcelona (UAB) and the company Eresa reveals the existence of a different anatomy in small areas of the brain which could help explain why one same stimulus triggers anxiety in some people and not in others.

According to the authors of this research work, which was recently published in the scientific journal NeuroImage, certain brains act via a mechanism which makes them more prone to suffer and not control anxiety than other brains when faced with identical situations. In patients with anxiety disorders, an excessive activation in the face of certain stimuli exists, which activates a disproportionate response to experiences subjectively understood to be tense, stressful or dangerous.

Their anxiety would be determined by their excessive activation of fear or their incapacity to fulfil the needs that they consider important. Therefore it would be difficult for them to react to a situation of tension or stress, and this situation would consequently trigger a feeling of frustration; thus the frequent relation of complaints of a depressive nature arises.

A disproportionate feeling of lack of reward, or even punishment, is produced during anxiety disorders. What these Spanish scientists have discovered through functional magnetic resonance is that an excessive activation of the so-called BIS (behavioural inhibition system) exists in this type of patients in the face of adverse stimuli.

The basis of the neuropsychological model of anxiety proposed by the present-day psychology thought is that the natural existence of BIS is activated by stimuli in the form of punishment or lack of reward; innate stimuli of fear in which certain stimuli are experienced as a threat without the need for learning, for example, a train approaching and the risk of being hit; or new fear stimuli acquired through experience or familiarity, such as phobias and post-traumatic stress.

The brain regions involved in the anatomic substrate of BIS are the cerebral amygdala and the septohippocampal system. Therefore, this altered response of anxiety and hyperactivity in patients who are predisposed to suffer anxiety in the face of such stimuli (punishment or lack of reward) can be measured with its incidence on these encephalic areas while patients undergo a test of sensitivity to mechanisms of reward or punishment.

A team of researchers at UJI and UAB in collaboration with Eresa, an image diagnosis company, has carried out a study with 63 individuals who were subjected to the sensitivity test and a magnetic resonance study which quantified the volume of grey matter in the different encephalic structures.

This research work reveals that a greater volume of grey encephalic matter exists in the brain areas of the right parahippocampus, the right cerebral amygdala and the left anterior parahippocampus of some individuals who went on to obtain higher scores in the test. This coincides with some anatomical regions which are triggered in the face of punishment or reward stimuli.

According to Vicente Belloch, the scientific director at Eresa and part-time lecturer at UJI, the combined research of both universities along with Eresa “reveals the existence of a different anatomy in small areas of the brain which could, in part, help explain why a stimulus triggers anxiety in some people but not in others”. However, the researchers recognise that unknown quantities remain to be solved. Benlloch reminds us that “the mechanism by which this increased volume of grey matter leads patients to obtain higher scores in the questionnaire remains unknown”.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitat Jaume. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Universitat Jaume. "Brain Anatomy Differences Found That Predispose Patients To Anxiety Disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510115420.htm>.
Universitat Jaume. (2007, May 11). Brain Anatomy Differences Found That Predispose Patients To Anxiety Disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510115420.htm
Universitat Jaume. "Brain Anatomy Differences Found That Predispose Patients To Anxiety Disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510115420.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) — In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) — Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) — Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins