Brain structure and joint hypermobility: relevance to the expression of psychiatric symptoms, 2012

Topics: hypermobility, psychiatric symptoms, fibromyalgia, brain structure, amygdala, temporal cortex, autism, proprioception

Authors: Jessica A. Eccles, Felix D. C. Beacher, Marcus A. Gray, Catherine L. Jones, Ludovico Minati, Neil A. Harrison and Hugo D. Critchley


Joint hypermobility is overrepresented among people with anxiety and can be associated with abnormal autonomic reactivity. We tested for associations between regional cerebral grey matter and hypermobility in 72 healthy volunteers using voxel-based morphometry of structural brain scans. Strikingly, bilateral amygdala volume distinguished those with from those without hypermobility. The hypermobility group scored higher for interoceptive sensitivity yet were not significantly more anxious. Our findings specifically link hypermobility to the structural integrity of a brain centre implicated in normal and abnormal emotions and physiological responses. Our observations endorse hypermobility as a multisystem phenotype and suggest potential mechanisms mediating clinical vulnerability to neuropsychiatric symptoms.

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