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Trends Neurosci. 2012 Sep;35(9):527-35. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2012.04.012. Epub 2012 Jun 2.

Functional network dysfunction in anxiety and anxiety disorders.

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Department of Psychiatry, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO, USA.


A recent paradigm shift in systems neuroscience is the division of the human brain into functional networks. Functional networks are collections of brain regions with strongly correlated activity both at rest and during cognitive tasks, and each network is believed to implement a different aspect of cognition. We propose here that anxiety disorders and high trait anxiety are associated with a particular pattern of functional network dysfunction: increased functioning of the cingulo-opercular and ventral attention networks as well as decreased functioning of the fronto-parietal and default mode networks. This functional network model can be used to differentiate the pathology of anxiety disorders from other psychiatric illnesses such as major depression and provides targets for novel treatment strategies.

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