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


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.

Link between social anxiety and drug use offers opportunities for more effective treatment
A team led by Case Western Reserve researchers has identified a potentially powerful approach to lowering relapse rates among the ranks of those addicted to illegal drugs or alcohol.
More Social Anxiety Current Events and Social Anxiety News Articles

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 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 Social Anxiety and Shyness: How to Be Confident and More Outgoing
by Beau Norton (Author)


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 these methods worked so well...

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...

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,...

Social Anxiety: Social Anxiety Relief: Your Secret Step-By-Step Guide to Finally Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder in 7 Days...or Less! (Social Anxiety ... and Shyness, Social Anxiety Cure Book 1)

Social Anxiety: Social Anxiety Relief: Your Secret Step-By-Step Guide to Finally Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder in 7 Days...or Less! (Social Anxiety ... and Shyness, Social Anxiety Cure Book 1)


Are You Ready to be Finally relieved from your Social Anxiety Disorder with a Proven Step-By-Step Guide?
For Today only, get this Kindle eBook for just $2.99. Regularly priced
at $4.99. Read on your PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet or Kindle device.

"Are you aware that social anxiety disorder is among the top conditions that a large number of people suffer from?"

Actually, in the USA, it has been estimated that up to 19 million citizens suffer from this condition. Research shows that the disorder affects people across all ages. However, it is more common among women and adolescents.

"So what do you do if you suffer from social anxiety disorder? Do you remain in your depression and think that you cannot do anything about the situation or do...

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...

Social Anxiety Solution: Proven Techniques for Overcoming Shyness, Social Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, and Negative Emotions

Social Anxiety Solution: Proven Techniques for Overcoming Shyness, Social Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, and Negative Emotions
by Beau Norton (Author)


Are you sick and tired of living in fear? I certainly was. My name is Beau, the author of this book, and 4 years ago I decided to make some major changes in my life. At the time, I suffered with severe social anxiety and depression. I couldn't take it any longer, and so I committed myself to self-improvement. I am proud to say that I am a completely different person today. This book is a compilation of many of the exact strategies I have personally used to go from shy and insecure to someone who is extremely confident, happy, and successful. I'm here to tell you that everything you desire is certainly within reach. If I can do it, so can you. Here are a few of the things you will learn in this book: How to overcome your shyness and social anxiety by reprogramming your mind How to use...

Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step

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...

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: Overcome Shyness, Anxiety, Introvert, Low Self Esteem & How To be Confident

Social Anxiety: Overcome Shyness, Anxiety, Introvert, Low Self Esteem & How To be Confident
by Jack Johnson (Author)


Social Anxiety- Overcome Shyness, Anxiety, Introvert, Low Self Esteem & How To be Confident Social Anxiety is one of the most common problems I see with people in this day and age. These days we are so caught up with what people think about us that it holds us back from being our true selves. Everyone has their own insecurities but I want to show you how to start living your dreams instead of your fears. My method is alot different to most people’s but I am always looking for what really helps someone change right now, not five years from now. I believe we only have a short amount of time on this planet so we might aswell live it up to the fullest. I’ve had so many clients that have been so stuck in their head about what people think about them that they pretty much gave up on...

© 2015 BrightSurf.com