Objectives: Traumatic stress has been associated with increased risk for brain alterations and development of anxiety disorders. Studies conducted in posttraumatic patients have shown white-mater volume and diffusion alterations in the corpus-callosum. Decreased cognitive performance has been demonstrated in acute stress disorder and posttraumatic patients. However, whether cognitive alterations result from stress related neuropathology or reflect a predisposition is not known. In the current study, we examined in healthy controls, whether individual differences in anxiety are associated with those cognitive and brain alterations reported in stress related pathologies. Methods: Twenty healthy volunteers were evaluated for anxiety using the state-trait inventory (STAI), and were tested for memory performance. Brain imaging was employed to extract volumetric and diffusion characteristics of the corpus-callosum. Results: Significant correlations were found between trait anxiety and all three diffusion parameters (fractional-anisotropy, mean and radial-diffusivity). Associative-memory performance and corpus-callosum volume were also significantly correlated. Conclusion: We suggest that cognitive and brain alterations, as tested in the current work and reported in stress related pathologies, are present early and possibly persist throughout life. Our findings support the hypothesis that individual differences in trait anxiety predispose individuals towards negative cognitive outcomes and brain alterations, and potentially to stress related disorders.
|Journal||International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research|
|State||Accepted/In press - 2022|
- anxiety/anxiety disorders
- trait anxiety