Brain activity patterns tied to anxiety get passed down from parent to offspring
Anxiety can run in families. Key differences in how an anxious monkey’s brain operates can be passed along too, a large study suggests.
By finding a pattern of brain activity linked to anxiety, and by tracing it through generations of monkeys, the results bring researchers closer to understanding the brain characteristics involved in severe anxiety — and how these characteristics can be inherited.
“We can trace how anxiety falls through the family tree,” which parents pass it on to which children, how cousins are affected and so on, says study coauthor Ned Kalin of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. The newly identified brain activity pattern takes the same path through the family tree as the anxious behavior, Kalin and colleagues report July 30 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Kalin and colleagues studied rhesus monkeys that, as