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Can J Psychiatry. 2014 Jun;59(6):294-300.

Resting-state neuroimaging studies: a new way of identifying differences and similarities among the anxiety disorders?

Author information

  • 1Student, Rotman Institute of Philosophy, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
  • 2Student, Department of Psychosomatic and Psychotherapeutic Medicine, Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • 3Associate Professor, Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
  • 4Professor, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.


This review examines recent functional neuroimaging research of resting-state regional connectivity between brain regions in anxiety disorders. Studies compiled in the PubMed- National Center for Biotechnology Information database targeting resting-state functional connectivity in anxiety disorders were reviewed. Diagnoses included posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (PD), and specific phobia (SP). Alterations to network connectivity were demonstrated in PTSD, GAD, SAD, OCD, and PD in several resting-state investigations. Differences from control subjects were primarily observed in the default mode network within PTSD, SAD, and OCD. Alterations within the salience network were observed primarily in PTSD, GAD, and SAD. Alterations in corticostriatal networks were uniquely observed in OCD. Finally, alterations within somatosensory networks were observed in SAD and PD investigations. Resting-state studies involving SPs as a primary diagnosis (with or without comorbidities) were not generated during the literature search. The emerging use of resting-state paradigms may be an effective method for understanding associations between anxiety disorders. Targeted studies of PD and SPs, meta-analyses of the studies conducted to date, and studies of the impact of specific comorbid presentations, are recommended future research directions.

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