Neuroimaging correlates of anxiety after pediatric traumatic brain injury

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56 Scopus citations


Background: Anxiety disorders are common after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Data on the neural correlates of these conditions are lacking. This study examines the relationship between brain damage, particularly to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and temporal lobe, and anxiety symptoms and disorders. Methods: Ninety-five children and adolescents were followed for one year postinjury. Preinjury and one-year postinjury anxiety status were obtained from the parent. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed to evaluate brain lesions. The primary analysis used regression models to determine relationships between brain lesions and anxiety outcomes. As a secondary analysis, previously reported posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) data were reanalyzed using similar methods for purposes of comparison. Results: The primary analysis showed that greater volume and number of OFC lesions correlated with decreased risk for anxiety, whereas lesions in other brain areas did not correlate with anxiety. Consistent with prior data, the secondary analysis showed an inverse correlation between OFC damage and PTSD; temporal lobe damage was positively correlated with PTSD. Conclusions: After pediatric TBI, greater damage to the OFC is associated with decreased risk for anxiety outcomes. Similar to adult data, these findings implicate OFC dysfunction in childhood anxiety. Temporal lobe damage did not correlate with anxiety, in contrast to the findings for PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-216
Number of pages9
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004


  • Anxiety
  • Children
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Temporal lobe
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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