THE ‘Worry Centre’ of the brain has been pinpointed by scientists; it is the hippocampus. This discovery could lead to new more effective treatments for anxiety and depression. “Now that we know the hippocampus is intimately involved in anxiety we could think of treatments to modulate the activity in that part of the brain,” revealed Stephen Williams, professor of neuroimaging at London’s Institute of Psychiatry.
“There could be behavioural therapies or pharmaceutical interventions that suppress the heightened activity that goes along with this anxious state.”
Memories of past experiences can subconsciously shape normal reactions to threatening situations according to researchers.
Anxiety acts as a way for people to be able to judge risks.
“Once upon a time anxiety was thought of as something that had to be cured, something learned from childhood; we now know that it is part of our adaptive repertoire which includes keeping us safe,” explained Dr Adam Perkins, also from the Institute of Psychiatry.
During the course of their research, MRI scans were taken of people deliberately made anxious by the threat of an electric shock.