Article

Changes in brain anatomy during the course of posttraumatic stress disorder

San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, CA ,CA 94121 United States.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.68). 06/2011; 193(2):93-100. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2011.01.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The goal of this study was to determine whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was associated with an increase in time-related decline in macrostructural brain volume and whether these changes were associated with accelerated cognitive decline. To quantify brain structure, three-dimensional T1-weighted MRI scans were performed at baseline and again after a minimum of 24months in 25 patients with PTSD (PTSD+) and 22 controls (PTSD-). Longitudinal changes in brain volume were measured using deformation morphometry. For the group as a whole, PTSD+ patients did not show significant ongoing brain atrophy compared to PTSD-. PTSD+ patients were then subgrouped into those with decreasing or increasing symptoms. We found little evidence for brain markers of accelerated atrophy in PTSD+ veterans whose symptoms improved over time, with only a small left parietal region showing greater ongoing tissue loss than PTSD-. PTSD patients whose symptoms increased over time showed accelerated atrophy throughout the brain, particularly brainstem and frontal and temporal lobes. Lastly, for the sample as a whole, greater rates of brain atrophy were associated with greater rates of decline in verbal memory and delayed facial recognition.

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Available from: Valerie A Cardenas, Apr 28, 2014
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    • "Multiple studies have identified smaller hippocampal volumes in subjects with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]. Not all studies have found smaller hippocampal volumes [8] [9] [10] [11], and various groups have suggested that hippocampal volume differences in PTSD are attributable to comorbid conditions such as alcoholism [12] or depression [13]. Still, in most studies of hippocampal volume in PTSD investigators have controlled for major psychiatric comorbidities , including substance abuse, and meta-analyses reveal that the correlation between PTSD and smaller hippocampal volume is widely replicated [6,14–16]. "
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