Image: Courtesy of Ahmad Hariri, NIMH
 FEAR AS SEEN BY fMRI: The blue crosshairs in each fMRI image highlight the increased activity in the amygdala of patients with one or two short alleles in response to fearful stimuli. The alleles are in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter, which is associated with higher concentrations of synaptic serotonin and increased rates of anxiety and neuroticism.

A team of scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health has found that a variant of the gene responsible for transporting the neurotransmitter serotonin is linked to greater activity of the amygdala within the brain.1 The researchers, led by Daniel Weinberger, chief of NIMH's Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, used functional magnetic resonance imaging in patients with one or two copies of the short allele of the serotonin transporter promoter. The fMRI demonstrated in-creased neuronal activity while these patients viewed faces showing emotional...

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