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Enhancing the executive centre of the brain might protect against anxiety

By jeremyc | November 21, 2017

According to new research, enhancing activity in the executive control of the brain might offer protection against depression and anxiety.

People who are at a greater risk of anxiety can protect themselves against it by making a certain part of the brain work better through training. This, in a nutshell, is what the current research states.

For this research, the scientists wanted to examine potential strategies to help anxiety sufferers deal better with the symptoms of their condition. Researchers were spurred on by their earlier discoveries to look for potential anti-anxiety strategies.

In an earlier research, a co-author of this new research had found that people who are at a greater risk to anxiety show a stronger response to threat. These people were also found to display a subdued response to reward.

In this research, the scientists decided to focus on dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (also called DLPFC for short), the area of the brain which is linked to executive functions of the brain, like working memory and selective attention.

For this research, the scientists enrolled 120 students, all of whom filled a questionnaire to assess their mental health and took part in different cognitive tasks.

The researchers took fMRI of the participants to analyze their brain response and noticed that enhancing DLPFC helps protect against anxiety.

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