Navigation Links
Depressed? Fearful? It might help to worry, too

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. A new study of brain activity in depressed and anxious people indicates that some of the ill effects of depression are modified for better or for worse by anxiety.

The study, in the journal Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, looked at depression and two types of anxiety: anxious arousal, the fearful vigilance that sometimes turns into panic; and anxious apprehension, better known as worry.

The researchers used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) at the Beckman Institute's Biomedical Imaging Center to look at brain activity in subjects who were depressed and not anxious, anxious but not depressed, or who exhibited varying degrees of depression and one or both types of anxiety.

"Although we think of depression and anxiety as separate things, they often co-occur," said University of Illinois psychology professor Gregory A. Miller, who led the research with Illinois psychology professor Wendy Heller. "In a national study of the prevalence of psychiatric disorders, three-quarters of those diagnosed with major depression had at least one other diagnosis. In many cases, those with depression also had anxiety, and vice versa."

Previous studies have generally focused on people who were depressed or anxious, Miller said. Or they looked at both depression and anxiety, but lumped all types of anxiety together.

Miller and Heller have long argued that the anxiety of chronic worriers is distinct from the panic or fearful vigilance that characterizes anxious arousal.

In an earlier fMRI study, they found that the two types of anxiety produce very different patterns of activity in the brain. Anxious arousal lights up a region of the right inferior temporal lobe (just behind the ear). Worry, on the other hand, activates a region in the left frontal lobe that is linked to speech production.

(Other research has found that depression, by itself, activates a region in the right frontal lobe.)

In the new study, brain scans were done while participants performed a task that involved naming the colors of words that had negative, positive, or neutral meanings. This allowed the researchers to observe which brain regions were activated in response to emotional words.

The researchers found that the fMRI signature of the brain of a worried and depressed person doing the emotional word task was very different from that of a vigilant or panicky depressed person.

"The combination of depression and anxiety, and which type of anxiety, give you different brain results," Miller said.

Perhaps most surprisingly, anxious arousal (vigilance, fear, panic) enhanced activity in that part of the right frontal lobe that is also active in depression, but only when a person's level of anxious apprehension, or worry, was low. Neural activity in a region of the left frontal lobe, an area known to be involved in speech production, was higher in the depressed and worried-but-not-fearful subjects.

Despite their depression, the worriers also did better on the emotional word task than those depressives who were fearful or vigilant. The worriers were better able to ignore the meaning of negative words and focus on the task, which was to identify the color not the emotional content of the words.

These results suggest that fearful vigilance sometimes heightens the brain activity associated with depression, whereas worry may actually counter it, thus reducing some of the negative effects of depression and fear, Miller said.

"It could be that having a particular type of anxiety will help processing in one part of the brain while at the same time hurting processing in another part of the brain," he said. "Sometimes worry is a good thing to do. Maybe it will get you to plan better. Maybe it will help you to focus better. There could be an up-side to these things."


Contact: Diana Yates
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Related medicine news :

1. Molecule Discovery Might Help ALS Patients
2. New Test Might Smell Early Stage Lung Cancer
3. Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
4. Compounds Identified That Might Treat Nerve Diseases
5. Self-Control Just Might Be Contagious
6. Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
7. Breast Growth in Boys Might Be Linked to Plastics Chemical
8. In Women, Aspirin Might Ward Off Eye Trouble
9. Implanted Defibrillator Might Extend Life
10. Teen Marijuana Use Might Have Lasting Effects on Mood, Anxiety
11. Disinfectant Misuse Might Help Germs Resist Antibiotics
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Depressed? Fearful? It might help to worry, too
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article ... of Toronto and the University of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring bicyclists to ... article explains that part of the reason for the controversial conclusion is that, while ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of Swiss doctors has ... it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. Click here ... the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed by EPP ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s ... , The company is offering customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment ... treatment at full price. According to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in ... (see Table 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under the age of ... 1 (HSV-1), according to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply ... Jones, is an interesting show that delves into an array of issues that are ... that could benefit from open dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ... Global Cell Surface Testing Market: Supplier ... to their offering.  --> ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ... Drug Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, ... Opportunities"  report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ... Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application ... Forecast to 2020" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: