Open Access Open Badges Research

Panic disorder and locomotor activity

Noriyuki Sakamoto1, Kazuhiro Yoshiuchi1*, Hiroe Kikuchi13, Yoshiyuki Takimoto1, Hisanobu Kaiya2, Hiroaki Kumano1, Yoshiharu Yamamoto3 and Akira Akabayashi1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Stress Sciences and Psychosomatic Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

2 Panic Disorder Research Center, Warakukai Medical Corporation, Tokyo, Japan

3 Educational Physiology Laboratory, Graduate School of Education, the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

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BioPsychoSocial Medicine 2008, 2:23  doi:10.1186/1751-0759-2-23

Published: 18 November 2008



Panic disorder is one of the anxiety disorders, and anxiety is associated with some locomotor activity changes such as "restlessness". However, there have been few studies on locomotor activity in panic disorder using actigraphy, although many studies on other psychiatric disorders have been reported using actigraphy. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between panic disorder and locomotor activity pattern using a wrist-worn activity monitor. In addition, an ecological momentary assessment technique was used to record panic attacks in natural settings.


Sixteen patients with panic disorder were asked to wear a watch-type computer as an electronic diary for recording panic attacks for two weeks. In addition, locomotor activity was measured and recorded continuously in an accelerometer equipped in the watch-type computer. Locomotor activity data were analyzed using double cosinor analysis to calculate mesor and the amplitude and acrophase of each of the circadian rhythm and 12-hour harmonic component. Correlations between panic disorder symptoms and locomotor activity were investigated.


There were significant positive correlations between the frequency of panic attacks and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.55) and between HAM-A scores and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.62).


Panic disorder patients with more panic attacks and more anxiety have greater objectively assessed locomotor activity, which may reflect the "restlessness" of anxiety disorders.