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Neurosci Lett. 2013 Mar 1;536:52-5. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.12.060. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Cortical thickness alterations in social anxiety disorder.

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Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) has been associated with aberrant processing of socio-emotional stimuli and failure to adaptively regulate emotion, corroborated by functional neuroimaging studies. However, only a few studies of structural brain abnormalities in SAD have been reported, and among these only one investigated cortical thickness. In the present study we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in conjunction with an automated method to measure cortical thickness in patients with SAD (n=14) and healthy controls (n=12). Results showed significantly increased thickness of the left inferior temporal cortex in SAD patients relative to controls. Within the patient group, a negative association was found between social anxiety symptom severity and thickness of the right rostral anterior cingulate cortex. The observed alterations in brain structure may help explain previous findings of dysfunctional regulation and processing of emotion in SAD.

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