Researchers pinpoint brain connections that may advance anxiety disorder treatment

Fear Relapse Research

Stephen Maren, a professor in the Department of Psychology, and his colleagues say they’ve discovered which connections in the brain are involved in “fear relapse,” the return of fear after therapy. Findings from the study, “Functional Anatomy of Neural Circuits Regulating Fear and Extinction,” were published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  

According to Maren, behavioral therapies can reduce pathological fear, but the prevalence of fear relapses continues to hinder anxiety disorder treatment. This recent finding, however, gives insight into how medications could target specific parts of the brain to prevent fear release.

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Finding which parts of the brain are acting in the production of fear and anxiety can help in the treatment of anxiety disorders. A Texas A&M University professor and his colleagues say they’ve discovered which connections in the brain are involved in “fear relapse,” the return of fear after therapy. Their findings give insight into what areas of the brain can be targeted by medication to prevent fear relapse.

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Maren and his colleagues’ research was also featured in a recent article by Futurity, a nonprofit site that highlights the latest discoveries by scientists at top research universities.