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Predicting Treatment Response in Social Anxiety Disorder From Functional MRI
Source: JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(1):87-97
Current behavioral measures poorly predict treatment outcome in social anxiety disorder (SAD). To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine neuroimaging-based treatment prediction in SAD.
Objective: To measure brain activation in patients with SAD as a biomarker to predict subsequent response to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Design: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were collected prior to CBT intervention. Changes in clinical status were regressed on brain responses and tested for selectivity for social stimuli.
Patients: 39 medication-free patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for the generalized subtype of SAD.
Interventions: Brain responses to angry vs neutral faces or emotional vs neutral scenes were examined with fMRI prior to initiation of CBT.
- Pretreatment responses significantly predicted subsequent treatment outcome of patients selectively for social stimuli and particularly in regions of higher-order visual cortex.
- Combining the brain measures with information on clinical severity accounted for more than 40% of the variance in treatment response and substantially exceeded predictions based on clinical measures at baseline.
- Prediction success was unaffected by testing for potential confounding factors such as depression severity at baseline.
- The results suggest that brain imaging can provide biomarkers that substantially improve predictions for the success of cognitive behavioral interventions and more generally suggest that such biomarkers may offer evidence-based, personalized medicine approaches for optimally selecting among treatment options for a patient.
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