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1.  Dysfunction of ventrolateral prefrontal cortex underlying social anxiety disorder: A multi-channel NIRS study 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2015;8:455-461.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by strong fear and anxiety during social interactions. Although ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) activity in response to emotional stimuli is related to pathological anxiety, little is known about the relationship between VLPFC activity and social anxiety. This study aimed to investigate whether VLPFC activity was involved in SAD and whether VLPFC activity was related to the level of social anxiety. Twenty-four drug-naïve patients with SAD and 35 healthy controls underwent near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) scanning while performing a verbal fluency task (VFT). Results indicated that, compared to the healthy controls, the SAD patients exhibited smaller changes of oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) concentrations in the VLPFC during the VFT. Furthermore, the right VLPFC activation was negatively correlated with social avoidance. In contrast to the latter, the healthy controls exhibited a positive correlation between changes of oxy-Hb concentrations in the bilateral VLPFC and social fear. Our findings provide evidence for VLPFC dysfunction in SAD, and indicate that the VLPFC dysfunction may contribute to the difference between normal and abnormal social anxiety.
Highlights
•We investigated ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) activity induced by the performance of the verbal fluency task.•Smaller changes of oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) concentrations in bilateral VLPFC in SAD patients•Negative correlation between changes of oxy-Hb concentrations in right VLPFC and social avoidance in SAD patients•Positive correlation between changes of oxy-Hb concentrations in bilateral VLPFC and social fear in healthy subjects
doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2015.05.011
PMCID: PMC4474365  PMID: 26106570
Social anxiety disorder; Ventrolateral prefrontal cortex; Emotion; Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)
2.  Anger tendency may be associated with duration of illness in panic disorder 
Background
Several studies have reported an increased tendency towards anger in patients with panic disorder (PD). If this propensity for anger arises from the pathological process of PD, it may be associated with the duration of the illness. The present study therefore examined the relationship between duration of PD and the personality tendency to experience anger in PD patients.
Methods
Participants were 413 patients (132 men and 281 women; age = 38.7 years) with PD. Diagnoses were confirmed using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Illness duration ranged from less than a year to 51 years. After participants completed the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, we examined the association between illness duration and the Angry Hostility and Impulsiveness subscale scores. In the analysis, participants were divided into two groups by duration of illness (long group, n = 186 and short group, n = 200) using the median value (9 years) as a cut-off because of the skewed distribution of the duration. Patients with an illness duration of 9 years (n = 27) were excluded from the comparison.
Results
The duration of illness was significantly correlated with the Angry Hostility score (p = 0.002) after controlling for age. Scores were significantly higher in the long group than in the short group (p = 0.04). No significant association was observed between Impulsiveness scores and duration of illness.
Conclusion
The present study suggests that longer PD duration is related to a stronger tendency to experience anger.
doi:10.1186/s13030-015-0035-3
PMCID: PMC4349781  PMID: 25745511
Panic disorder; Illness duration; Anger; Personality
3.  The development of agoraphobia is associated with the symptoms and location of a patient's first panic attack 
Background
The place where a patient experiences his/her first panic attack (FPA) may be related to their agoraphobia later in life. However, no investigations have been done into the clinical features according to the place where the FPA was experienced. In particular, there is an absence of detailed research examining patients who experienced their FPA at home. In this study, patients were classified by the location of their FPA and the differences in their clinical features were explored (e.g., symptoms of FPA, frequency of agoraphobia, and severity of FPA).
Methods
The subjects comprised 830 panic disorder patients who were classified into 5 groups based on the place of their FPA (home, school/office, driving a car, in a public transportation vehicle, outside of home), The clinical features of these patients were investigated. Additionally, for panic disorder patients with agoraphobia at their initial clinic visit, the clinical features of patients who experienced their FPA at home were compared to those who experienced their attack elsewhere.
Results
In comparison of the FPAs of the 5 groups, significant differences were seen among the 7 descriptors (sex ratio, drinking status, smoking status, severity of the panic attack, depression score, ratio of agoraphobia, and degree of avoidance behavior) and 4 symptoms (sweating, chest pain, feeling dizzy, and fear of dying). The driving and public transportation group patients showed a higher incidence of co-morbid agoraphobia than did the other groups. Additionally, for panic disorder patients with co-morbid agoraphobia, the at-home group had a higher frequency of fear of dying compared to the patients in the outside-of-home group and felt more severe distress elicited by their FPA.
Conclusion
The results of this study suggest that the clinical features of panic disorder patients vary according to the place of their FPA. The at-home group patients experienced "fear of dying" more frequently and felt more distress during their FPA than did the subjects in the other groups. These results indicate that patients experiencing their FPA at home should be treated with a focus on the fear and distress elicited by the attack.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-6-12
PMCID: PMC3349583  PMID: 22494552
Place of first panic attack; Panic attack symptoms; Subtype of panic disorder; Agoraphobia
4.  Panic disorder and locomotor activity 
Background
Panic disorder is one of the anxiety disorders, and anxiety is associated with some locomotor activity changes such as "restlessness". However, there have been few studies on locomotor activity in panic disorder using actigraphy, although many studies on other psychiatric disorders have been reported using actigraphy. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between panic disorder and locomotor activity pattern using a wrist-worn activity monitor. In addition, an ecological momentary assessment technique was used to record panic attacks in natural settings.
Methods
Sixteen patients with panic disorder were asked to wear a watch-type computer as an electronic diary for recording panic attacks for two weeks. In addition, locomotor activity was measured and recorded continuously in an accelerometer equipped in the watch-type computer. Locomotor activity data were analyzed using double cosinor analysis to calculate mesor and the amplitude and acrophase of each of the circadian rhythm and 12-hour harmonic component. Correlations between panic disorder symptoms and locomotor activity were investigated.
Results
There were significant positive correlations between the frequency of panic attacks and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.55) and between HAM-A scores and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.62).
Conclusion
Panic disorder patients with more panic attacks and more anxiety have greater objectively assessed locomotor activity, which may reflect the "restlessness" of anxiety disorders.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-23
PMCID: PMC2596169  PMID: 19017383

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