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In addition to recording her responses to spiders, snakes and other scary stimuli, the researchers measured her experience of fear using many standardized questionnaires that probed various aspects of the emotion, such as fear of death or fear of public speaking. She also carried a computerized emotion diary for three months that randomly asked her to rate her fear level throughout the day.

The mother of three was also seen by her children approaching and picking up a large snake near their home with no seeming regard for its ability to harm her, Feinstein said.

avoid dangerous circumstances. In one case, when she was 30, she approached a drugged out looking man late one night who pulled a knife and threatened to kill her.

"Because of her brain damage, Nike Vapormax Pink

"In small doses, fear is a good thing it keeps us alive," Izquierdo said. "For many years, we have known from studies in rodents and monkeys that the amygdala is necessary for the normal expression of fear. Those who study the amygdala in animals are limited, however . . . and can only speculate about what this brain region does for the experience of fear."

Researchers said the study, reported in the Dec. 16 issue of the journal Current Biology, could lead to new treatment strategies for PTSD and anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health, more than 7.7 million Americans are affected by the condition, and a 2008 analysis predicted that 300,000 soldiers returning from combat in the Middle East would experience PTSD.

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Alicia Izquierdo, an assistant professor of psychology at California State University in Los Angeles, said the study results add to existing evidence that the amygdala should be targeted in developing therapies for phobias, anxiety disorders and PTSD, "where too much fear is a bad thing."

"Certainly, when it comes to fear, she's missing it," Feinstein said. Red Nike Vapormax

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Nike Vapormax Images

Brain Anomaly Leaves Woman Without Fear

"Its a perfect example of the sort of situation she gets herself in that anyone without brain damage would be able to avoid," Feinstein said. "With her brain damage, she's so trusting, so approachable to everything. In hindsight, [her response to the man with the knife] may have saved her life because the guy got freaked out."

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"This is one reason why the study . . . is so meaningful: We can now say that the amygdala is important for the expression and the subjective experience of fear," she added.

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Nike Vapormax Images

"She's so unique in her presentation."

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By Maureen SalamonTHURSDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) Researchers who have studied a woman with a missing amygdala the part of the brain believed to generate fear report that their findings may help improve treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders.

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[the patient] appears to be immune to PTSD," Feinstein said, noting that she is otherwise cognitively typical and experiences other emotions such as happiness and sadness.

In perhaps the first human study confirming that the almond shaped structure is crucial for triggering fear, researchers at the University of Iowa monitored a 44 year old woman's response to typically frightening stimuli such as snakes, spiders, horror films and a haunted house, and asked about traumatic experiences in her past. Scientists have been studying her for the past 20 years, and their prior research had already determined that the woman cannot recognize fear in others' facial expressions. suffers from an extremely rare disease that destroyed her amygdala.

Because of her complete absence of fear, the woman who heard Nike Vapormax Images a choir singing in a nearby church responded, "If you're going to kill me, you're going to have to go through my God's angels first." The man abruptly let her go.

Perhaps most notable, Feinstein said, are her many near misses with peril because of her inability to Nike Vapormax Utility Triple Black

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