Science journalist Ann Lukits wrote about the groundbreaking panic attack research of SMU psychologists Dr. Alicia Meuret, Dr. David Rosenfield and Dr. Thomas Ritz in the The Wall Street Journal‘s Research Report.

The Sept. 20 article “Seeing Signs of a Panic Attack Before One Happens” details the startling findings of Meuret’s newest published study showing significant physiological instability in advance of so-called out-of-the-blue panic attacks.

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By Ann Lukits
The Wall Street Journal

Panic attacks that appeared to strike out of the blue were preceded for almost an hour by significant physiological changes that went undetected by research subjects in a study published in Biological Psychiatry. Panic attacks are intense episodes of terror lasting about 10 minutes that can be unexpected or induced by specific triggers. The disorder, which affects about six million American adults, is twice as common in women as men, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Researchers in Texas used portable monitors to record minute-by-minute physiological changes in 43 patients age 23 to 62 with moderate-to-severe panic disorder. Eight indicators, including heart rate, respiration, and skin conductance, an indication of a psychological or physiological reaction to stimuli, were measured during two 24-hour sessions. Patients pressed an event marker when a panic attack occurred and noted the start time. Thirteen attacks averaging eight minutes in length were reported.

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