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Elife. 2017 May 30;6. pii: e23608. doi: 10.7554/eLife.23608.

Threat of shock increases excitability and connectivity of the intraparietal sulcus.

Author information

1
Section on Neurobiology of Fear and Anxiety, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, United States.
2
MEG Core Facility, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, United States.

Abstract

Anxiety disorders affect approximately 1 in 5 (18%) Americans within a given 1 year period, placing a substantial burden on the national health care system. Therefore, there is a critical need to understand the neural mechanisms mediating anxiety symptoms. We used unbiased, multimodal, data-driven, whole-brain measures of neural activity (magnetoencephalography) and connectivity (fMRI) to identify the regions of the brain that contribute most prominently to sustained anxiety. We report that a single brain region, the intraparietal sulcus (IPS), shows both elevated neural activity and global brain connectivity during threat. The IPS plays a key role in attention orienting and may contribute to the hypervigilance that is a common symptom of pathological anxiety. Hyperactivation of this region during elevated state anxiety may account for the paradoxical facilitation of performance on tasks that require an external focus of attention, and impairment of performance on tasks that require an internal focus of attention.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00047853.

KEYWORDS:

alpha; anxiety; fMRI; global connectivity; human; magnetoencephalography; neuroscience; startle

PMID:
28555565
PMCID:
PMC5478270
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.23608
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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