AES: Brain's stress response differs among epilepsy patients

December 4, 2012
AES: brain's stress response differs among epilepsy patients
There is a significant difference in the brain's response to stress among patients with epilepsy who believe stress is an important factor in seizure control compared to those who do not, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 in San Diego.

(HealthDay)—There is a significant difference in the brain's response to stress among patients with epilepsy who believe stress is an important factor in seizure control compared to those who do not, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 in San Diego.

Using functional , Jane B. Allendorfer, Ph.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues assessed the neural response to psychosocial stress in 23 patients with left . Participants included 16 patients who believed that stress impacts their (+S) and seven who did not (−S). The Montreal Imaging Stress Task was used as the stress paradigm, whereby participants performed a simple (control) and difficult (stress) task, with positive and negative feedback provided in the simple and difficult tasks, respectively.

The researchers found that, in the +S group, there was increased activation bilaterally in the superior temporal gyrus (STG) in response to the difficult versus simple math problems. In response to negative versus positive feedback, in the +S group, there was increased activation in the left insula and bilaterally in the STG, Brodmann area 39, and posterior cingulate. Increased activation was not seen in stressful conditions in the −S group.

"We also hypothesize that the difference in may be related to why some epilepsy patients have seizures more frequently than do other patients," Allendorfer said in a statement.

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