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Spontaneous alterations of regional brain activity in patients with adult generalized anxiety disorder

Authors Xia L, Li S, Wang T, Guo Y, Meng L, Feng Y, Cui Y, Wang F, Ma J, Jiang G

Received 3 February 2017

Accepted for publication 20 June 2017

Published 20 July 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1957—1965


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Likun Xia,1 Shumei Li,2 Tianyue Wang,2 Yaping Guo,3 Lihong Meng,3 Yunping Feng,3 Yu Cui,1 Fan Wang,1 Jian Ma,1 Guihua Jiang2

1Department of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, People’s Hospital of Yuxi City, Yuxi, 2Department of Medical Imaging, Guangdong No 2 Provincial People’s Hospital, Guangzhou, 3Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, People’s Hospital of Yuxi City, Yuxi, People’s Republic of China

Objective: We aimed to examine how spontaneous brain activity might be related to the pathophysiology of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Patients and methods: Using resting-state functional MRI, we examined spontaneous regional brain activity in 31 GAD patients (mean age, 36.87±9.16 years) and 36 healthy control participants (mean age, 39.53±8.83 years) matched for age, education, and sex from December 2014 to October 2015. We performed a two-sample t-test on the voxel-based analysis of the regional homogeneity (ReHo) maps. We used Pearson correlation analysis to compare scores from the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, State–Trait Anxiety Scale-Trait Scale, and mean ReHo values.
Results: We found abnormal spontaneous activity in multiple regions of brain in GAD patients, especially in the sensorimotor cortex and emotional regions. GAD patients showed decreased ReHo values in the right orbital middle frontal gyrus, left anterior cingulate cortex, right middle frontal gyrus, and bilateral supplementary motor areas, with increased ReHo values in the left middle temporal gyrus, left superior temporal gyrus, and right superior occipital gyrus. The ReHo value of the left middle temporal gyrus correlated positively with the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale scores.
Conclusion: These results suggest that altered local synchronization of spontaneous brain activity may be related to the pathophysiology of GAD.

Keywords: generalized anxiety disorder, functional magnetic resonance imaging, resting state, regional homogeneity

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