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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2007;8(4):269-72.

fMRI amygdala activation during a spontaneous panic attack in a patient with panic disorder.

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Department of Radiology, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany.


Previous studies on neuronal activation correlates of panic attacks were mostly based on challenge tests, sensory-related stimulation or fear conditioning in healthy subjects. In the present study, we report on a female patient with panic disorder experiencing a spontaneous panic attack under an auditory habituation paradigm in the last stimulation block with sine tones captured with fMRI at 3T. The panic attack was associated with a significantly increased activity in the right amygdala. This is the first report on neuronal activation correlates of a spontaneous panic attack in a patient with panic disorder as measured by fMRI, which lends further support to a pivotal role of the amygdala in the pathogenesis of the disease.

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