An integrative assessment of brain and body function 'at rest' in panic disorder: A combined quantitative EEG/autonomic function study

Vikki Wise, Alexander McFarlane, Christopher Clark, Malcolm Battersby

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    23 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We conducted a quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG) and autonomic assessment of panic disorder (PD). The study samples comprised 52 individuals meeting DSM-IV criteria for PD (with or without agoraphobia) and 104 age-, gender-, and handedness-matched controls. EEG data were acquired from 16 scalp sites during resting eyes-open (REO) and eyes-closed (REC) conditions, and spectral power was assessed within 4 frequency bands: theta, alpha-1, alpha-2, and beta. The main findings were an overall reduction of spectral power in PD, compared to controls (Group main effect, p= .011), which was most apparent during REC (Group Condition interaction, p= .014), and within the alpha-1 frequency band (8-11. Hz; Group Band interaction, p= .014). Alpha-1 desynchronization occurs in response to increases in non-specific information processing, and aspects of attention such as alertness. Other findings were region-specific alterations of spectral power at frontal and temporal scalp sites, including a frontal alpha-1 asymmetry (R < L power) during REC in patients, but not controls. Findings for concomitantly-recorded autonomic measures included elevated heart rate, lower heart rate variability, and reduced rate of decrement of skin conductance level in patients, compared to controls. Finally, analyses examining the within-subjects relationship of central and peripheral function measures showed a differential pattern in patients and controls. Possible causes of these disturbances of brain and body function 'at rest', such as patients' ongoing automatic and strategic engagement with multiple disorder-related threat cues, including somatic variability and the testing environment, are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-165
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume79
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

    Keywords

    • Alpha
    • Autonomic
    • Disorder
    • Integrative
    • Panic
    • QEEG

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