Brain activity buffers agains worsening anxiety
Boosting activity in the brain’s thinking and problem-solving centers may protect at-risk individuals from developing anxiety.
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A recent study by researchers at Duke University suggests that boosting activity in brain areas related to thinking and problem-solving may also buffer against worsening anxiety.
Using noninvasive brain imaging, the researchers found that people at-risk for anxiety were less likely to develop the disorder if they had higher activity in a region of the brain responsible for complex mental operations.
"These findings help reinforce a strategy whereby individuals may be able to improve their emotional functioning -- their mood, their anxiety, their experience of depression -- not only by directly addressing those phenomena, but also by indirectly improving their general cognitive functioning," said Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke.
Results of the study may be a step towards tailoring psychological therapies to the specific brain functioning of individual patients.
The research was supported in part by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.
Read more about this research in the NSF News From the Field story Brain activity buffers against worsening anxiety. (Date image taken: November 2017; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: June 28, 2018)
Credit: Jonathan Lee, Duke University
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