Category: Treatment - Mindfulness

Symposium

Distinct Functional Connectivities Predict Clinical Response With Emotion Regulation Therapy

Sunday, November 19
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom A, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Neuroscience
Presentation Type: Symposium

Despite the success of available medical and psychosocial treatments, a sizable subgroup of individuals with commonly co-occurring disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD), fail to make sufficient treatment gains thereby prolonging their deficits in life functioning and satisfaction. Clinically, these patients often display temperamental features reflecting heightened sensitivity to underlying motivational systems related to threat/safety and reward/loss (e.g., somatic anxiety) as well as inordinate negative self-referential processing (e.g., worry, rumination). This profile may reflect disruption in two important neural networks associated with emotional/motivational salience (e.g., salience network) and self-referentiality (e.g., default network, DN). Emotion Regulation Therapy (ERT) was developed to target this hypothesized profile and its neurobehavioral markers. In the present study, 22 GAD patients (with and without MDD) completed resting state MRI scans before receiving 16 sessions of ERT. To test study these hypotheses, we examined the associations between baseline patterns of intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) of the insula and of hubs within the DN (anterior and dorsal medial prefrontal cortex [MPFC] and posterior cingulate cortex [PCC]) and treatment-related changes in worry, somatic anxiety symptoms and decentering. Results suggest that greater treatment linked reductions in worry were associated with iFC clusters in both the insular and parietal cortices. Greater treatment linked gains in decentering, a metacognitive process that involves the capacity to observe items that arise in the mind with healthy psychological distance that is targeted by ERT, was associated with iFC clusters in the anterior and posterior DN. The current study adds to the growing body of research implicating disruptions in the default and salience networks as promising targets of treatment for GAD with and without co-occurring MDD.

David Fresco

Professor
Kent State University

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