Emotional memory in early steroid abnormalities: an FMRI study of adolescents with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
ABSTRACT Hormonal imbalances during development may have long-lasting effects. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we compared 14 youths with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), a genetic disorder of hormonal dysfunction, with 22 healthy controls on memory encoding of emotional faces. Patients remembered fewer faces than controls, particularly fearful faces. FMRI data to successfully encoded fearful faces revealed that males with CAH showed significant activations in amygdala, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate relative to unaffected males, while females with CAH demonstrated deactivations relative to unaffected females in these regions. Findings indicate that steroid abnormalities during development can have important effects on neural correlates of emotional memory.