What is the amygdala?

The amygdala is located deep in the medial temporal lobe, and has reciprocal connections with many regions of the cortex, such as prefrontal and cingulate cortex, as well as sub-cortical regions such as the brainstem and hippocampus. The amygdala is implicated in the processing and memory of emotional responses, particularly emotional learning, as well as mediating the autonomic expression of emotion.

What is the evidence for amygdala alterations?

Moderate to high quality evidence found reduced grey matter volume in the amygdala and the amygdala-hippocampus region of people with schizophrenia compared to controls. There were also reductions in the amygdala of first-episode patients and relatives of people with schizophrenia.

Compared to people with bipolar disorder, moderate to low quality evidence finds a medium-sized effect of reduced amygdala volume in people with schizophrenia.

Moderate quality evidence found people with schizophrenia showed increased activity in the amygdala during executive function tasks, and increased or decreased activity during emotion processing tasks.

October 2020

Last updated at: 11:09 pm, 30th October 2020
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