Positron emission tomographic measurements of regional blood flow, a marker of local neuronal activity, were used to investigate the neuroanatomical correlates of a normal emotion. Healthy volunteers were studied before, during, and after anticipation of a painful electric shock. During anticipatory anxiety, there were significant blood flow increases in bilateral temporal poles, the same regions recently implicated in a lactate-induced anxiety attack in patients with panic disorder. Thus, the temporal poles seem to be involved in normal and pathological forms of human anxiety.
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