Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

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.

Choosing treatments

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 Articles


Social anxiety is highly heritable but is affected by environment
Genes play a crucial role over time although environmental factors matter most in the short term, according to a major study into social anxiety and avoidant personality disorders from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Even moderate picky eating can have negative effects on children's health
Picky eating among children is a common but burdensome problem that can result in poor nutrition for kids, family conflict, and frustrated parents.

Attention-control video game curbs combat vets' PTSD symptoms
A computerized attention-control training program significantly reduced combat veterans' preoccupation with - or avoidance of -- threat and attendant PTSD symptoms.

Doing good deeds helps socially anxious people relax
Being busy with acts of kindness can help people who suffer from social anxiety to mingle more easily. This is the opinion of Canadian researchers Jennifer Trew of Simon Fraser University and Lynn Alden of the University of British Columbia, in a study published in Springer's journal Motivation and Emotion.

Individuals with social phobia have too much serotonin -- not too little
Previous studies have led researchers to believe that individuals with social anxiety disorder/ social phobia have too low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Animals' presence may ease social anxiety in kids with autism
Animals' presence may ease social anxiety in kids with autism NIH-funded study could have implications for treatment

Nail biters, beware: Teeth grinding is next
Anxiety disorders affect approximately one in six adult Americans, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Discovery may open door for treating fragile X carriers
Fragile X syndrome, an inherited cause of autism and intellectual disability, can have consequences even for carriers of the disorder who don't have full-blown symptoms.

Scientists create the sensation of invisibility
The power of invisibility has long fascinated man and inspired the works of many great authors and philosophers.

How oxytocin makes a mom: Hormone teaches maternal brain to respond to offspring's needs
Neuroscientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered how the powerful brain hormone oxytocin acts on individual brain cells to prompt specific social behaviors - findings that could lead to a better understanding of how oxytocin and other hormones could be used to treat behavioral problems resulting from disease or trauma to the brain.
More Social Anxiety Current Events and Social Anxiety News Articles

Social Anxiety: Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Fear, Shyness, and Social Phobia to Achieve Success in All Social Situations

Social Anxiety: Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Fear, Shyness, and Social Phobia to Achieve Success in All Social Situations
by Brian Adams (Author)


Social Anxiety: Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Fear, Shyness, and Social Phobia to Achieve Success in all Social Situations

If you are suffering from social anxiety disorder, if you feel that others are judging you for being nervous, shy or fearful of a situation then you have come to the right place.

Social anxiety is a highly debilitating condition, leaving sufferers as complete nervous wrecks, no matter what the situation. There are always going to be people who tell you to “pull yourself together,” without realizing exactly what it is you are going through, even though they themselves may feel of touch of anxiety when they are nervous or fearful about something. The fact is, social anxiety is a big issue, leading to far bigger symptoms that negatively affect your...

Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming your Fear

Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming your Fear
by Martin M. 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...

Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

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...

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
by Kamal Ravikant (Author)


In December of 2011, I gave a talk to an audience of scientists, Pentagon officials, politicians, and CEOs on the secret of life and how I'd figured it out the previous summer. Afterwards, people came up individually and told me how much what I'd shared meant to them. This book is based on the truth I spoke about. It's something I learned from within myself, something I believed saved me. And more than that, the way I set about to do it. This is a collection of thoughts on what I learned, what worked, what didn't. Where I succeed and importantly, where I fail daily. The truth is to love yourself with the same intensity you would use to pull yourself up if you were hanging off a cliff with your fingers. As if your life depended upon it. Once you get going, it's not hard to do. Just...

Social Anxiety: Social Skills Training - Unleash Your Charisma! Overcome Anxiety, Shyness & Fear (Social anxiety disorder, Shyness, Charisma, Overcoming anxiety, Overcoming shyness)

Social Anxiety: Social Skills Training - Unleash Your Charisma! Overcome Anxiety, Shyness & Fear (Social anxiety disorder, Shyness, Charisma, Overcoming anxiety, Overcoming shyness)


No More Awkward Silences - Unleash Your Charisma!
Read this book for FREE on Kindle Unlimited - Download Now!
In any and every kind of society structure... school... a job... a city...there are people who seem to have it all...

The fame...The popularity...The recognition...The adoration and fawning...
Doors magically open for them in all kinds of life-changing ways.

It seems their life defies the laws of gravity. They’re immune to failure.
While they're enjoying life to the fullest, you are spending your nights alone.

You know THE PAIN. The pain of being ignored.

And I know it too.

I used to be shy and reserved... just like you. And you know what?
One day I discovered that everyone can...

The Solution To Social Anxiety: Break Free From The Shyness That Holds You Back

The Solution To Social Anxiety: Break Free From The Shyness That Holds You Back
by Dr Aziz Gazipura PsyD (Author)


Discover How To Overcome Social Anxiety And ShynessAre you held back by shyness? Do many things seem out of reach due to social anxiety?Many people have settled into thinking this is just how life is... "This is just the way I am." However, nothing could be further from the truth.In this inspiring, breakthrough book, Dr. Aziz guides you along the path out of social anxiety and into greater confidence in yourself. You will discover what is keeping you stuck in shyness and learn exactly what to do in order to break free.After suffering from social anxiety himself for many years, Dr. Aziz became determined to find a way to social freedom. His deep understanding if what creates the social fears, shyness, and limitations, displays just how much he gets what it feels like to be shy.The first...

Social Anxiety: Ultimate Guide On How To Overcome Your Deepest Fear Of Being Judged By Other People. (Overcome Shyness, treatment, Relief, social anxiety disorder, phobia)

Social Anxiety: Ultimate Guide On How To Overcome Your Deepest Fear Of Being Judged By Other People. (Overcome Shyness, treatment, Relief, social anxiety disorder, phobia)


Learn how to overcome social anxiety disorder, so you can live the life you of your dreams.

Did you know that in 1993, social phobia was branded the “disorder of the decade” which earned it the name “Social Anxiety Disorder”.

In the U.S, Social Anxiety Disorder ranked third among the largest phycological disorders after alcoholism and depression.

S.A.D (social anxiety disorder) is a serious matter. I if you have it, and you don’t do anything about it, you might as well wave goodbye to all of your dreams, unless you’re planning to live your whole life alone.

It’s that bad.

Most people don’t understand it; “I mean, what’s so hard about going up to the cashier, when all you have to say is “hi”, “Yes...

The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens: CBT and ACT Skills to Help You Build Social Confidence

The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens: CBT and ACT Skills to Help You Build Social Confidence
by Jennifer Shannon LMFT (Author), Doug Shannon (Illustrator), Christine Padesky (Illustrator)


Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just flick a switch and make your shyness go away? No more worrying about what others think about you, no more embarrassment in front of other people. You could just relax and feel comfortable and confident, the way you probably think everyone else feels. If you struggle with shyness, you’re all too familiar with the feeling of not knowing what to do or say, and you’ll do anything to avoid feeling that way. But, most likely, you also know that you’re missing out on a lot—friendships, potential relationships, and fun. You’ve chosen this book because you’re ready to stop hiding behind your shyness and start enjoying everything life has to offer. The worksheets and exercises in The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens will...

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
by Brene Brown (Author)


In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, "What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?" In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as...

Diagonally-Parked in a Parallel Universe : Working Through Social Anxiety

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,...

© 2016 BrightSurf.com