Anxiety and anxiety disorders are associated with specific alterations to functional brain networks, including intra-networks and inter-networks. Given the heterogeneity within anxiety disorders and inconsistencies in functional network differences across studies, identifying common patterns of altered brain networks in anxiety is imperative. Here, we conducted an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis of resting-state functional connectivity studies in anxiety and anxiety disorders (including 835 individuals with different levels of anxiety or anxiety disorders and 508 controls). Results show that anxiety can be characterized by hypo-connectivity of the affective network with executive control network (ECN) and default mode network (DMN), as well as decoupling of the ECN with the DMN. The connectivity within the salience network and its connectivity with sensorimotor network are also attenuated. These results reveal consistent dysregulations of affective and cognitive control related networks over networks related to emotion processing in anxiety and anxiety disorders. The current findings provide an empirical foundation for an integrated model of brain network alterations that are common across anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Keywords: Activation likelihood estimation; Anxiety; Anxiety disorders; Functional brain networks; Meta-analysis; Resting-state.
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