recorded webinar

Research Feature - Mapping An Anxiety Spectrum

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Featuring:

Annmarie MacNamara, PhD
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Research Feature - Anxiety Spectrum
Thursday, July 01, 2021 12:00 pm
- 12:00 pm ET

Research Feature - Mapping An Anxiety Spectrum: A Neurobiological Marker of Severity and Prognosis In Mood and Anxiety Disorders

#ADAA2021Virtual Donald F. Klein Awardee Research Presentation

The current diagnostic system emphasizes discrete categories that may not map on to underlying dimensions of psychopathology. For instance, comorbidity in the anxiety disorders is the norm and it is associated with increased disability, lower remission rates and higher relapse. Epidemiological and genetic data suggests that anxiety disordered patients fall along a spectrum, ranging from those with focal fear, low comorbidity and low negative affectivity on one end, to those with diffuse anxiety, high comorbidity and high negative affectivity on the other. fMRI work has indicated heightened threat reactivity along this spectrum, however evidence suggests that an EEG marker of motivated attention to threatening stimuli, the late positive potential (LPP) becomes blunted in individuals with more diffuse anxiety/higher levels of negative affectivity. This webinar will describe results from our recent NIH-funded work that used multiple neurobiological measures to test a novel hypothesis – that comorbidity load in the anxiety disorders is characterized by a unique, multi-level brain profile that can account for comorbidity’s deleterious effects on outcome, beyond what would be expected if comorbidity was simply the sum of its parts.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify brain regions associated with the processing of negative information or events
  • Describe complementary electroencephalographic (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) approaches to characterizing anxiety pathophysiology
  • Understand recent research findings on negative emotion generation in the anxiety disorders
  • Discuss novel ways of characterizing the anxiety disorders along a spectrum
     


2022 Donald F. Klein Early Career Investigator Award

ADAA offers an annual award to an early career investigator for the best original research paper on neurobiology, psychopharmacology, psychosocial treatments, or experimental psychopathology of anxiety disorders and depression. This award is named for Donald F. Klein, MD (1928-2019), who revolutionized psychiatric thinking through his discovery in the early 1960s that imipramine, a recently developed psychotropic medication, was effective in blocking panic attacks.

 

Click Here to Receive 2022 Award Information

Click Here to Begin Your 2022 Submission 

Presenter(s) Biography

Annmarie MacNamara, PhD

Annmarie MacNamara

I became involved in ADAA as a postdoctoral fellow. I joined ADAA because I appreciate the close links between research and clinical practice that can be found at ADAA. There are few other organizations that are as accessible to patients, providers and researchers, and that help bridge the gaps between these individuals.

I enjoy the close, supportive community, and the opportunities that exist for members of all levels to get involved and have their work promoted and disseminated.

As a clinical psychologist engaged primarily in research at this stage in my career, ADAA helps keep me in touch with the patient and clinician experience, which helps in crafting better research questions. It also helps me connect with some of the most pre-eminent researchers in my field.

I am thrilled and humbled to have been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Donald F. Klein Early Career Investigator Award. I am also grateful for a recent 5-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, which will allow my lab to continue our work on comorbidity load in the anxiety disorders.

Dr. MacNamara is an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.

Research Interests:
Emotions convey important information about events and people in our environment. They motivate us and are essential to survival (e.g., fear motivates a fight or flight response). However, when an emotional response is not well-matched to the situation (e.g., the sound of a car backfiring elicits fear), it ceases to be adaptive, and may hinder a person’s ability to function effectively in society. People with anxiety and depression struggle with emotional responses more than others. Why is this and how can we best help these individuals?

Work in the Multimethod Affect and Cognition (MAC) lab uses brain and psychophysiological measures such as event-related potentials (ERPs), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), eyeblink startle and skin conductance response to investigate emotions in psychiatric health and disease. One aim of this work is to characterize the parameters of emotional response and the cognitive factors that can affect this in healthy individuals. Another aim of this work is to better understand how these factors go awry in psychiatric disorders. The long-term goal of this research is to reduce the cost and suffering associated with emotional disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression) by improving diagnosis and guiding new treatments.

Dr. Annmarie MacNamara (Texas A&M University) is a clinical affective neuroscientist who uses fMRI and EEG to examine emotion generation and regulation across the internalizing psychopathology spectrum. Consistent with the mission of ADAA, Dr. MacNamara's long-term goal is to reduce the suffering and cost associated with emotional disorders by bringing diagnosis and treatment more in line with underlying pathophysiology. Dr. MacNamara is an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Psychophysiology, a member of the NIH F-16 study section and was recently designated as a "Rising Star" by the Association for Psychological Science.

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