Superior temporal gyrus volumes in pediatric generalized anxiety disorder.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: The essential symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are intrusive worry about everyday life circumstances and social competence, and associated autonomic hyperarousal. The amygdala, a brain region involved in fear and fear-related behaviors in animals, and its projections to the superior temporal gyrus (STG), thalamus, and to the prefrontal cortex are thought to comprise the neural basis of our abilities to interpret social behaviors. Larger amygdala volumes were previously reported in pediatric GAD; however, the brain regions involved in social intelligence were not examined in this pilot study. METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to measure the STG, thalamus, and prefrontal volumes in 13 medically healthy child and adolescent subjects with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and 98 comparison subjects, who were at low familial risk for mood and psychotic disorders. Groups were similar in age, gender, height, weight, handedness, socioeconomic status, and full-scale IQ. RESULTS: The total, white matter, and gray matter STG volumes were significantly larger in GAD subjects compared with control subjects. Thalamus and prefrontal lobe volumes did not differ between groups. Findings of significant side-by-diagnosis interactions for STG and STG white matter volumes suggest that there is a more pronounced right > left asymmetry in total and STG white matter volumes in pediatric GAD subjects compared with control subjects. A significant correlation between the STG white matter percent asymmetry index with the child report of the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders Scale was seen. CONCLUSIONS: These data agree with previous work implicating posterior right-hemispheric regions in anxiety disorders and may suggest developmental alterations in pediatric GAD.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • De Bellis, MD; Keshavan, MS; Shifflett, H; Iyengar, S; Dahl, RE; Axelson, DA; Birmaher, B; Hall, J; Moritz, G; Ryan, ND

Published Date

  • April 1, 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 51 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 553 - 562

PubMed ID

  • 11950457

Pubmed Central ID

  • 11950457

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-3223

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0006-3223(01)01375-0


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States