Researchers who have studied a woman with a missing amygdala — the part of the brain believed to generate fear — report that their findings may help improve treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders.
In perhaps the first human study confirming that the almond-shaped structure is crucial for triggering fear, researchers at the University of Iowa monitored a 44-year-old woman’s response to typically frightening stimuli such as snakes, spiders, horror films and a haunted house, and asked about traumatic experiences in her past.
The woman, identified as S.M., does not seem to fear a wide range of stimuli that would normally frighten most people.
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