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NEUROANATOMIC ABNORMALITIES IN ADOLESCENTS WITH GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER: A VOXEL-BASED MORPHOMETRY STUDY

Authors

  • Jeffrey R. Strawn M.D.,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Anna M. Wehry B.S.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Wen-Jang Chu Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
    2. Center for Imaging Research, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Caleb M. Adler M.D.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
    2. Center for Imaging Research, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • James C. Eliassen Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
    2. Center for Imaging Research, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Michael A. Cerullo M.D.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Stephen M. Strakowski M.D.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
    2. Center for Imaging Research, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Melissa P. DelBello M.D., M.S.

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Correspondence to: Jeffrey R. Strawn, Department of Psychiatry, ML 0559, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 260 Stetson Street, Suite 3200, Cincinnati, OH 45267–0559. E-mail: strawnjr@uc.edu

Abstract

Background

Despite recent data implicating functional abnormalities in the neurocircuitry underlying emotional processing in pediatric anxiety disorders, little is known regarding neurostructural abnormalities within these systems.

Methods

Using voxel-based morphometry, gray and white matter volumes were compared in 15 medication-free adolescents with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; and no comorbid major depressive disorder) and 28 age- and sex-matched healthy comparison subjects.

Results

Compared to healthy adolescents, youth with GAD had larger gray matter volumes in the right precuneus and right precentral gyrus and decreased gray matter volumes in the left orbital gyrus and posterior cingulate. White matter volumes were decreased in the left medial and superior frontal gyrus and were increased in the left inferior temporal gyrus in youth with GAD relative to healthy subjects.

Conclusions

Adolescents with GAD, who are early in the course of their illness, exhibit abnormalities in neural structures that subserve threat appraisal, modulation of fear responses, attachment, and mentalization.

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