A pilot study of amygdala volumes in pediatric generalized anxiety disorder

Michael D. De Bellis, B. J. Casey, Ronald E. Dahl, Boris Birmaher, Douglas E. Williamson, Kathleen M. Thomas, David A. Axelson, Karin Frustaci, Amy M. Boring, Julie Hall, Neal D. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

232 Scopus citations


Background: The neurodevelopment of childhood anxiety disorders is not well understood. Basic research has implicated the amygdala and circuits related to these nuclei as being central to several aspects of fear and fear-related behaviors in animals. Methods: Magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure amygdala volumes and comparison brain regions in 12 child and adolescent subjects with generalized anxiety disorder and 24 comparison subjects. Groups were matched on age, sex, height, and handedness and were also similar on measures of weight, socioeconomic status, and full scale IQ. Results: Right and total amygdala volumes were significantly larger in generalized anxiety disorder subjects. Intracranial, cerebral, cerebral gray and white matter, temporal lobe, hippocampal, and basal ganglia volumes and measures of the midsagittal area of the corpus callosum did not differ between groups. Conclusions: Although these data are preliminary and from a small sample, the results are consistent with a line of thinking that alterations in the structure and function of the amygdala may be associated with pediatric generalized anxiety disorder. Copyright (C) 2000 Society of Biological Psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2000


  • Amygdala
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Pediatric anxiety disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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