Association between flashbacks and structural brain abnormalities in posttraumatic stress disorder
SourceEuropean Psychiatry, 26, 8, (2011), pp. 525-531
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectDCN 2: Functional Neurogenomics
OBJECTIVE: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is reliably associated with reduced brain volume relative to healthy controls, in areas similar to those found in depression. We investigated whether in a PTSD sample brain volumes in these areas were related to reporting specific symptoms of PTSD or to overall symptom severity. METHOD: Structural MRI scans were obtained from 28 participants diagnosed with PTSD according to DSM-IV-TR. Participants reported the extent of individual PTSD symptoms using the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale. Voxel-based morphometry applying the Dartel algorithm implemented within SPM5 was used to identify volumetric changes, related to PTSD total, symptom cluster, and individual symptom scores. RESULTS: Brain volume was unrelated to overall PTSD severity, but greater reexperiencing scores predicted reduced volumes in the middle temporal and inferior occipital cortices. Increased reports of flashbacks predicted reduced volume in the insula/parietal operculum and in the inferior temporal gyrus. CONCLUSION: The data illustrate the value of analyses at the symptom level within a patient population to supplement group comparisons of patients and healthy controls. Areas identified were consistent with a neurobiological account of flashbacks implicating specific abnormalities in the ventral visual stream.
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