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Changes in cerebral blood flow after cognitive behavior therapy in patients with panic disorder: a SPECT study

Authors Seo H, Choi Y, Chung Y, Rho W, Chae J

Received 3 December 2013

Accepted for publication 28 February 2014

Published 17 April 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 661—669

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S58660

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Ho-Jun Seo,1 Young Hee Choi,2 Yong-An Chung,3 Wangku Rho,1 Jeong-Ho Chae1

1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea; 2Metta Institute of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Seoul, South Korea; 3Department of Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea

Aim: Inconsistent results continue to be reported in studies that examine the neural correlates of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in patients with panic disorder. We examined the changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) associated with the alleviation of anxiety by CBT in panic patients.
Methods: The change in rCBF and clinical symptoms before and after CBT were assessed using single photon emission computed tomography and various clinical measures were analyzed.
Results: Fourteen subjects who completed CBT showed significant improvements in symptoms on clinical measures, including the Panic and Agoraphobic Scale and the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-Revised. After CBT, increased rCBF was detected in the left postcentral gyrus (BA 43), left precentral gyrus (BA 4), and left inferior frontal gyrus (BA 9 and BA 47), whereas decreased rCBF was detected in the left pons. Correlation analysis of the association between the changes in rCBF and changes in each clinical measure did not show significant results.
Conclusion: We found changes in the rCBF associated with the successful completion of CBT. The present findings may help clarify the effects of CBT on changes in brain activity in panic disorder.

Keyword: single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), anxiety, neural correlate, brain activity

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