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      The Hidden Face of Fear in the COVID-19 Era: The Amygdala Hijack

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          Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) pandemic has placed an overwhelming health and economic burden [1] and, most likely, has had a dramatic impact on emotional regulation. An Italian 32-year-old healthy right-handed woman, resident in Piacenza, Italy, one of the red areas, underwent a functional MRI with a visual task where happy faces and threat-related cues were shown. Images of an intensive care unit correlated with a stronger activation of bilateral amygdala than did other tasks (p < 0.05, corrected) (Fig. 1). Indeed, when rating fear, the amygdala gives priority to 2019-nCoV in people subjected to the psychological consequences of the pandemic. When emotion takes over, the amygdala hijack occurs [2]. Statement of Ethics Human and animal studies have been approved by the local Ethics Committee and, therefore, been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. Specific national laws have been observed, too. The patient gave written informed consent for publication of the case, including brain MRI images. Disclosure Statement The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest concerning this article. Funding Sources This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. No financial support was provided for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Author Contributions Study concepts: N. Morelli and P. Immovilli. Study design: N. Morelli, M. Spallazzi, and D. Colombi. Data analysis/interpretation: N. Morelli. Manuscript preparation and definition of intellectual content: N. Morelli and E. Rota. Manuscript editing: N. Morelli and E. Rota. Manuscript revision/review: D. Guidetti and E. Michieletti.

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          Most cited references 2

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          Novel Coronavirus and Old Lessons — Preparing the Health System for the Pandemic

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            Novel coronavirus and old lessons: preparing the health system for the pandemic

             J. HICK,  P Biddinger (2020)

              Author and article information

              Eur Neurol
              Eur. Neurol
              European Neurology
              S. Karger AG (Allschwilerstrasse 10, P.O. Box · Postfach · Case postale, CH-4009, Basel, Switzerland · Schweiz · Suisse, Phone: +41 61 306 11 11, Fax: +41 61 306 12 34, )
              11 May 2020
              : 1-2
              aNeurology Unit, Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital, Piacenza, Italy
              bRadiology Unit, Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital, Piacenza, Italy
              cNeurology Unit, San Giacomo Hospital Novi Ligure, Alessandria, Italy
              dDepartment of Medicine and Surgery, Section of Neurology Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria, Parma, Italy
              Author notes
              *Dr. Nicola Morelli, Neurology and Radiology Unit, Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital, Via Taverna 49, IT–29121 Piacenza (Italy),
              Copyright © 2020 by S. Karger AG, Basel

              This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic or until permissions are revoked in writing. Upon expiration of these permissions, PMC is granted a perpetual license to make this article available via PMC and Europe PMC, consistent with existing copyright protections.

              Page count
              Figures: 1, References: 2, Pages: 2
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