Effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on occipital lobe function and structure.
ABSTRACT Although there is evidence for strong connectivity between the amygdala and the visual cortex and some evidence for reduced occipital lobe gray matter volume in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), few studies have directly examined the effects of PTSD on occipital function. The current study used functional and structural MRI to examine occipital cortex function and structure in male combat veterans with and without PTSD. Left occipital gray matter volume was reduced in PTSD patients relative to the controls and correlated negatively with the severity of PTSD symptoms. Functional activity in the lateral occipital complex to aversive and nonaversive pictures presented in novel and repeated presentations was not altered by PTSD. These findings suggest that PTSD adversely affects occipital lobe volume but not the reactivity of the lateral occipital complex to generally aversive, trauma nonspecific stimuli.
Article: Falling out of time: enhanced memory for scenes presented at behaviorally irrelevant points in time in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Spontaneous encoding of the visual environment depends on the behavioral relevance of the task performed simultaneously. If participants identify target letters or auditory tones while viewing a series of briefly presented natural and urban scenes, they demonstrate effective scene recognition only when a target, but not a behaviorally irrelevant distractor, appears together with the scene. Here, we show that individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who witnessed the red sludge disaster in Hungary, show the opposite pattern of performance: enhanced recognition of scenes presented together with distractors and deficient recognition of scenes presented with targets. The recognition of trauma-related and neutral scenes was not different in individuals with PTSD. We found a positive correlation between memory for scenes presented with auditory distractors and re-experiencing symptoms (memory intrusions and flashbacks). These results suggest that abnormal encoding of visual scenes at behaviorally irrelevant events might be associated with intrusive experiences by disrupting the flow of time.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e42502. · 4.09 Impact Factor