Women without fear made to feel panic
A study from the University of Iowa looked at three women who have a rare kind of brain damage to the amygdalae, a pair of structures deep in the brain that are thought to be the storage center for fears. Because of the damage to these structures, the women had never experienced fear in their adult lives, even in life-threatening situations.
For the study, researchers had each woman briefly inhale carbon dioxide, which can cause some people to feel as though they are suffocating. When the women inhaled carbon dioxide, they did indeed feel as though they were being deprived of air and were thrown into a panic attack.
Scientists believe that even though their amygdalae were damaged, the feeling of fear and panic rerouted itself another way through the brain and that caused the panic attacks.