A magnetoencephalography investigation of coherence source imaging in panic disorder

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Limbic and frontal structures are largely implicated in panic disorder (PD). Decreased coherence imaging values, as determined by magnetoencephalography (MEG), are suggestive of decreased or inefficient communication among these structures. We have previously demonstrated that coherence source imaging (CSI) values could be similar or higher in some PD patients. The purpose of the current investigation was to replicate these finding in a larger sample. Nine strictly diagnosed PD patients and nine age-matched and sex-matched healthy controls were examined. The CSI-MEG values of 26 frontotemporal regions (FTRs) and 28 extra-frontotemporal regions (ex-FTR; Brodmann areas) were determined for each participant. MEG scans were acquired using a 151-channel whole-head biomagnetometer system. Despite the relatively small sample size, CSI values were significantly lower in a number of FTRs in PD patients. In none of the ex-FTRs (i.e. posterior regions) were there differences between panic and control groups. The above data add to the complexity of understanding the nature of the pathophysiology of PD. Our finding of decreased focal coherence imaging values may reflect decreased excitability in these areas. The preliminary finding could be interpreted as an inhibitory process guarding against the spread of activity in closer hyperexcitable areas as seen in epilepsy. The current data provide evidence for dysfunctional communication within the frontotemporal structures. The findings have implications for the understanding of the neural circuitry underlying PD.

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