Vision Zone Might Be Key To Panic Disorders

New research suggests that an area of the brain that specializes in detecting fast-moving objects in the eye’s peripheral vision may be a new target for treating panic disorders.

The area, known as prostriata, is located in a primitive part of the cerebral cortex and has characteristics unlike any other visual area described before, including a “direct line” of communication to brain areas controlling emotion and quick reactions.
The discovery could lead to new treatments for panic disorders such as agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) and may extend into other medical areas, including Alzheimer’s treatment. These findings are expected to change how we think of the brain in terms of how visual information is processed.

This area is likely to be hyperactive in panic disorder, with agoraphobia, and could lead to treatment options for the hyperactivity, and other such disorders, particularly the fear of open spaces.
Correlation with previous studies also shows that prostriata is one of the first areas affected in Alzheimer’s disease. The research helps to explain spatial disorientation and the tendency to fall, which are among the earliest signs of a problem associated with Alzheimer’s.
This area had ultra-fast responses to visual stimuli, simultaneously broadcasting information to brain areas that control attention, emotional and motor reactions. This challenges current conceptions of how the brain processes visual information.
This research suggests a specialized brain circuit through which stimuli in peripheral vision can be fast-tracked to command quickly coordinated physical and emotional responses.