Predicting how patients respond to therapy
September 07, 2012
Brain scans could help doctors choose treatments for people with social anxiety disorder
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- A new study led by MIT neuroscientists has found that brain scans of patients with social anxiety disorder can help predict whether they will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy.
Social anxiety is usually treated with either cognitive behavioral therapy or medications. However, it is currently impossible to predict which treatment will work best for a particular patient. The team of researchers from MIT, Boston University (BU) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that the effectiveness of therapy could be predicted by measuring patients' brain activity as they looked at photos of faces, before the therapy sessions began.
The findings, published this week in the Archives of General Psychiatry, may help doctors choose more effective treatments for social anxiety disorder, which is estimated to affect around 15 million people in the United States.
"Our vision is that some of these measures might direct individuals to treatments that are more likely to work for them," says John Gabrieli, the Grover M. Hermann Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and senior author of the paper.
Lead authors of the paper are MIT postdoc Oliver Doehrmann and Satrajit Ghosh, a research scientist in the McGovern Institute.
Sufferers of social anxiety disorder experience intense fear in social situations that interferes with their ability to function in daily life. Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to change the thought and behavior patterns that lead to anxiety. For social anxiety disorder patients, that might include learning to reverse the belief that others are watching or judging them.
The new paper is part of a larger study that MGH and BU ran recently on cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety, led by Mark Pollack, director of the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at MGH, and Stefan Hofmann, director of the Social Anxiety Program at BU.
"This was a chance to ask if these brain measures, taken before treatment, would be informative in ways above and beyond what physicians can measure now, and determine who would be responsive to this treatment," Gabrieli says.
Currently doctors might choose a treatment based on factors such as ease of taking pills versus going to therapy, the possibility of drug side effects, or what the patient's insurance will cover. "From a science perspective there's very little evidence about which treatment is optimal for a person," Gabrieli says.
The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to image the brains of patients before and after treatment. There have been many imaging studies showing brain differences between healthy people and patients with neuropsychiatric disorders, but so far imaging has not been established as a way to predict patients' responses to particular treatments.
Measuring brain activity
In the new study, the researchers measured differences in brain activity as patients looked at images of angry or neutral faces. After 12 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, patients' social anxiety levels were tested. The researchers found that patients who had shown a greater difference in activity in high-level visual processing areas during the face-response task showed the most improvement after therapy.
Gabrieli says it's unclear why activity in brain regions involved with visual processing would be a good predictor of treatment outcome. One possibility is that patients who benefited more were those whose brains were already adept at segregating different types of experiences, Gabrieli says.
The researchers are now planning a follow-up study to investigate whether brain scans can predict differences in response between cognitive behavioral therapy and drug treatment.
"Right now, all by itself, we're just giving somebody encouraging or discouraging news about the likely outcome" of therapy, Gabrieli says. "The really valuable thing would be if it turns out to be differentially sensitive to different treatment choices."
The research was funded by the Poitras Center for Affective Disorders Research and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Related Social Anxiety Current Events and Social Anxiety News ArticlesChildhood psychological abuse as harmful as sexual or physical abuse
Children who are emotionally abused and neglected face similar and sometimes worse mental health problems as children who are physically or sexually abused, yet psychological abuse is rarely addressed in prevention programs or in treating victims, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.A new view of the world
New research out of Queen's University has shed light on how exercise and relaxation activities like yoga can positively impact people with social anxiety disorders.Stanford scientists tie social behavior to activity in specific brain circuit
A team of Stanford University investigators has linked a particular brain circuit to mammals' tendency to interact socially. Stimulating this circuit - one among millions in the brain - instantly increases a mouse's appetite for getting to know a strange mouse, while inhibiting it shuts down its drive to socialize with the stranger.Pathological gambling runs in families
A study by University of Iowa researchers confirms that pathological gambling runs in families and shows that first-degree relatives of pathological gamblers are eight times more likely to develop this problem in their lifetime than relatives of people without pathological gambling.Oxytocin, the 'love' hormone, promotes group lying, according to Ben-Gurion U. researchers
According to a new study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the University of Amsterdam, oxytocin caused participants to lie more to benefit their groups, and to do so more quickly and without expectation of reciprocal dishonesty from their group.'Love hormone' could provide new treatment for anorexia
Oxytocin, also known as the 'love hormone', could provide a new treatment for anorexia nervosa, according to new research by a team of British and Korean scientists. Meeting face to face vs. meeting on Facebook -- new study on social anxiety
Nearly a billion people use Facebook, the largest social networking site, but interacting with someone on social media is not the same as meeting them in person. New links between social status and brain activity
New studies released today reveal links between social status and specific brain structures and activity, particularly in the context of social stress.Individuals Genetically Predisposed to Anxiousness May Be Less Likely to Volunteer and Help Others
Scientists increasingly are uncovering answers for human behavior through genetic research.Sticks and stones: Brain releases natural painkillers during social rejection, U-M study finds
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," goes the playground rhyme that's supposed to help children endure taunts from classmates.
More Social Anxiety Current Events and Social Anxiety News Articles
Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques|
by Gillian Butler (Author)
Step-by-step guides to self-improvement that introduce the methods of the highly regarded cognitive behavioral therapy technique to help readers conquer a broad range of disabling conditions-from worry to body image problems to obsessive compulsive disorder and more. The accessible, straightforward, and practical books in the Overcoming series treat disorders by changing unhelpful patterns of behavior and thought. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was developed by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck and is now internationally favored as a practical means of overcoming longstanding and disabling conditions, both psychological and physical. CBT insists that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors. Even when our situation does not change, if we change the self-defeating ways we think, we can...
Diagonally-Parked in a Parallel Universe : Working Through Social Anxiety|
by Signe A. Dayhoff (Author), Carleton W. Kendrick (Foreword)
"Dear Social Anxiety Sufferers (Your Friends and Family), Everyone has experienced fleeting anxiety in social situations. But perhaps your self-consciousness intensely insinuates itself into one or more important aspects of your everyday life. If so, you likely suffer from the agonizing pangs of social fear. Perhaps you dread meeting people, giving a speech, using a public restroom, eating in public, talking to your boss, or having your social skills or work observed or your competence assessed. Or perhaps you feel threatened in new social situations where you don't know the rules, avoid such situations altogether, or just want to escape. We all experience social anxiety a little differently yet we're all riding the same skittish horse. When our social fears are intense and persistent,...
Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming your Fear|
by Martin Antony PhD (Author), Richard Swinson MD FRCPC FRCP (Author)
There's nothing wrong with being shy. But if social anxiety keeps you from forming relationships with others, advancing in your education or your career, or carrying on with everyday activities, you may need to confront your fears to live an enjoyable, satisfying life.This new edition of The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook offers a comprehensive program to help you do just that. As you complete the activities in this workbook, you'll learn to: Find your strengths and weaknesses with a self-evaluation Explore and examine your fears Create a personalized plan for change Put your plan into action through gentle and gradual exposure to social situations Information about therapy, medications, and other resources is also included. After completing this program, you'll be...
Overcome Social Anxiety and Shyness: How to Be Confident and More Outgoing: (Overcome Fear, Relieve Anxiety, and Achieve Success)(Overcome Shyness and Live Free of Worry)|
Would you like to be more confident and outgoing in social situations? Are you tired of dealing with shyness and/or social anxiety? If so, look no further, because this book was specifically made for those who want an easy step by step guide for overcoming shyness, social anxiety, fear, and insecurity. I have carefully crafted this book so that you can use the methods described to take small baby steps on your way to becoming more confident and outgoing.
For someone who suffers from social anxiety and shyness, leaving their comfort zone can be quite scary. I know this, because I once suffered from severe shyness and social anxiety myself. This book is an outline of the methods that I personally used to cure my social anxiety and overcome my shyness. Because...
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook|
by Edmund J. Bourne (Author)
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook has already helped over one million readers make a full and lasting recovery from generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, specific phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other anxiety-related issues. Packed with the most effective skills for assessing and treating anxiety, this workbook can be used alone or as a supplement to therapy to help you develop a full arsenal of skills for quieting worried thoughts and putting yourself back in control. This new edition has been thoroughly updated with the latest anxiety research and medications, and also includes new therapeutic techniques that have been proven effective for the treatment of anxiety and anxiety-related conditions. Each worksheet in this book will help you learn the skills...
Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step|
by Thomas A. Richards Ph.D (Author), Justin R. Bashore (Editor), Aaron C. O'Banion (Editor), Matthew Whitley (Editor), Zach D. Brown (Editor)
This book contains the handouts accompanying the audio / video series “Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step.”
Each handout is a cognitive strategy that will reduce social anxiety in conjunction with the therapy series itself. It helps you to develop a full arsenal of skills for quieting negative thoughts, changing negative thinking habits, and learning to feel less anxious. You are in control of this happening. With this book of handouts, you’ll learn how to: • Challenge automatic negative thoughts and beliefs
• Develop rational, helpful thoughts and belief systems
• Calm yourself down in social situations
• Accept yourself for who you are
• Feel empowered and in control of your life Our hope is that this new series will be used by millions of...
Always Know What To Say - Easy Ways To Approach And Talk To Anyone|
Who is this book for?
"Always Know What To Say" is for anyone who wants a straight to the point explanation of conversation skills fundamentals. I point out key distinctions you can apply right away to go from being tongue tied and unsure of what to say to having fun meeting people and getting to know them better. If you read AND apply what I cover in the book you`ll make steady progress and become much more at ease talking to people.
This book is not for you if you already have very good conversation skills and are comfortable meeting new people and letting your personality shine. You need to go elsewhere if you are looking for "secrets" and advanced strategies to achieve conversation skills mastery. You`ll regard this book as common sense.
Social Anxiety Cure: How to Overcome Shyness, Boost Confidence and Live Your Life to the Fullest (Self Confidence, Social Phobia, Social Anxiety Disorder)|
Learn how to overcome Social Anxiety and start living your life to the fullest!
Discover tips, techniques and stories that can teach you how to stop being shy and start feeling confident in every situation!
I'm about to show you how you can leave Social Anxiety in your rear view and never look back! I once was like you--shyness ruled my life. I was sometimes so intimidated by social interaction that I could barely leave my house. This is no longer the case for me and I can show you how you can gain the same confidence I now have.
If you are suffering from social anxiety and shyness, I know your pain. It's hard to enjoy life when you become frozen at the thought of going out and having a good time. Clammy hands, shallow breathing, and a racing heart...
End Your Social Anxiety Forever: 4 Proven Methods to Build Great Confidence & Conquering Your Fear (Self-Help Top Rated Series)|
Now You Can End Your Social Anxiety and Shyness Forever With These Tried & Tested Techniques...Guaranteed
For a limited time, get this book for just $2.99. Regularly priced at $4.99. Read on your PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet or Kindle device.
Do you always feel nervous? Do you have a sense of insecurity and feelings of worthlessness? Do you always have pangs of panic attacks? Are you concern over how others may perceive you? Do you get uncomfortable around social situations?
Now... Imagine what if you could get rid of your social anxiety for good? Imagine yourself developing great confidence, develop business and personal relationships with ease. How about getting through a social gathering effortlessly without being self-conscious?
Social Anxiety: The Solution To Overcoming Social Anxiety (Simple Steps To Living Your Life Stress Free, SAD, Social Anxiety Disorder, Self Confidence, How to Build Self Esteem)|
Finally Free Yourself From Social Anxiety With The Tools And Tips In This Book!!
Today only, get this Amazon bestseller for just $2.99. Regularly priced
at $4.99. Read on your PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet or Kindle device.
You’re about to discover how to actually overcome your social anxiety, or social phobia with just the information within this book!!!! Most of the time recognizing that there is a problem is half of the step. If you have ever wondered if you, or someone close to you, suffers from social anxiety or social phobia, this book will help walk you through questionnaires that will leave no question unanswered. This book will then walk you through the steps to take to overcome your disorder, and lead you to a much happier and healthier...