When a child encounters strangers, it is normal for him to freeze and be quiet for a few moments. When that child’s reaction lasts too long or he is too apprehensive, he may have a disorder known as anxious temperament, a risk factor for depression or other anxiety disorders that develop later in life.
Psychiatrists are able to identify the disorder, but treatments are difficult to develop because the cause of anxious temperament is unknown.
In the largest non-human primate neuroimaging study to date, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have identified brain regions that are overactive in the most anxious monkeys, and they were able to show that the response in one of those regions is likely an inherited genetic condition.
The researchers hope to use their data to find the genes that predispose people to the disorder and provide a target for drug therapy, and it may help to identify children who are at-risk based on a family history of depression and anxiety.
via UW study gives hope for anxiety disorder – JSOnline.
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