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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT May Change Brain Volume

First Posted: Feb 07, 2016 01:55 AM EST
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New findings published in the journal Translational Psychiatry show that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may help in changing brain volume. It is known as a type of psychotherapy that focuses on problem solving as opposed to analysis and that can help patients who are experiencing anxiety, depression and other related issues.

During this recent study, researchers found that patients with social anxiety disorder benefited from just nine weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy that they received online.

"The greater the improvement we saw in the patients, the smaller the size of their amygdalae," lead study author Kristoffer Mansson, a doctoral student at Linkoping University, said in a news release. "The study also suggests that the reduction in volume drives the reduction in brain activity."

During the study, researchers evaluated MRI scans before CBT and then nine weeks after. Findings showed significant shrinkage of the amygdalae--a portion of the temporal lobes that's linked to decision-making, emotional reactions and memory.

"Although we didn't look at that many patients, this work provides some important knowledge -- especially for all the sufferers," Mansson said.

"Several studies have reported that certain areas of the brain differ between patients with and without anxiety disorders," he added. "We've shown that the patients can improve in nine weeks -- and that this leads to structural differences in their brains."

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