Correlates of Anxiety Associated with a Life-Threatening Illness (MDA-S1)

Physiological Correlates of Anxiety Associated With a Life-threatening Illness

In this study, participants from the parent study (MDA-1) underwent brain scans with functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) before they were randomized to placebo or MDMA-assisted therapy, after completing two placebo or MDMA-assisted therapy sessions (depending on treatment group), and after completing three active MDMA-assisted therapy sessions. While in the fMRI scanner, participants were asked to perform an emotional regulation task that involved observing either neutral images or images known to induce negative emotions, with instructions either to view passively or attempt to reduce the negative affect associated with the images. Resting state brain scans (with no explicit task) were also measured along with heart rate variability. While in the scanner, subjects listened to pre-recorded audio scripts about life stresses for themselves and for another person with instructions to practice compassion for themselves or for others. In another task, they responded to pictures known to produce positive and negative emotions and performed an attention-related task.