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 quality evidence suggests reduced amygdala and hippocampus-amygdala grey matter in people with schizophrenia, including child-onset patients, compared to people without schizophrenia. Moderate to low quality evidence suggests reduced white matter integrity in the amygdala as well. First-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia, and other people at high risk of schizophrenia, also have reduced amygdala grey matter. People with schizophrenia show functional increased activation in the amygdala during executive function tasks and decreased activation in the amygdala during emotion processing tasks.

March 2019

Last updated at: 2:50 am, 28th March 2019
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