Email Print Share
July 13, 2018

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.

More about this image
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

See other images like this on your iPhone or iPad download NSF Science Zone on the Apple App Store.

Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation.

Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (1.4 MB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.