Neuroimaging Studies of Amygdala Function in Anxiety Disorders

Authors

  • SCOTT L. RAUCH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02129, USA
    2. Department of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • LISA M. SHIN,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02129, USA
    2. Department of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    3. Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, USA
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  • CHRISTOPHER I. WRIGHT

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02129, USA
    2. Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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Address for correspondence: Scott L. Rauch, M.D., Director, Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital—East, Building 149, Room 9130, 13th Street, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129. Voice: 617-724-9553; fax: 617-726-4078. rauch@psych.mgh.harvard.edu

Abstract

Abstract: Neuroimaging research has helped to advance neurobiological models of anxiety disorders. The amygdala is known to play an important role in normal fear conditioning and is implicated in the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders. The amygdala may also be a target for the beneficial effects of cognitive-behavioral and medication treatments for anxiety disorders. In the current paper, we review neuroimaging research pertaining to the role of the amygdala in anxiety disorders and their treatment. Moreover, we discuss the development of new neuroimaging paradigms for measuring aspects of amygdala function, as well as the function of related brain regions. We conclude that such tools hold great promise for facilitating progress in relevant basic neuroscience as well as clinical research domains.

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