A  A  A   Print
Anxiety May Affect Kids' Brains

Anxiety May Affect Kids' Brains

TUESDAY, June 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Children with anxiety problems actually have a bigger "fear center" in their brain, researchers report.

The study included 76 children aged 7 to 9, which is when anxiety-related traits and symptoms can first be reliably detected, according to the Stanford University School of Medicine researchers.

The parents provided information about their youngsters' anxiety levels, and the children also underwent MRI scans of their brain structure and function.

The investigators focused on an area of the brain called the amygdala, which is a person's "fear center," and found that kids with high anxiety levels had a larger amygdala compared to children with low anxiety levels. This part of the brain, the researchers noted, had more connections to other brain regions involved in attention, emotion perception and regulation.

The researchers also developed a way to predict children's anxiety levels based on brain scan measurements of amygdala size and its level of connection to other brain areas, according to the study in the June issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry.

"It is a bit surprising that alterations to the structure and connectivity of the amygdala were so significant in children with higher levels of anxiety, given both the young age of the children and the fact that their anxiety levels were too low to be observed clinically," first author Dr. Shaozheng Qin said in a journal news release.

The study is an important advance in identifying young children at risk for anxiety disorders and improves understanding of how anxiety develops in people, according to Qin.

While the study found an association between reported levels of anxiety and the structure and connectivity of the amygdala in kids, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has more about children and anxiety.

SOURCE: Biological Psychiatry, news release, June 16, 2014

 
Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.