Pitman Roger

Pitman Roger
Massachusetts General Hospital | MGH · Department of Psychiatry

About

299
Publications
58,320
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37,480
Citations
Citations since 2017
45 Research Items
10501 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202305001,0001,500
201720182019202020212022202305001,0001,500

Publications

Publications (299)
Article
Objective Previous research has reported hyperresponsivity in the amygdala and hyporesponsivity in ventral portions of the medial prefrontal cortex to threat-related stimuli in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Whether such findings generalize to more ambiguous stimuli and whether such brain activation abnormalities reflect familial vulnerabili...
Article
Full-text available
Background Anxiety disorders and depression associate with an increased risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT). However, it is unclear if this association persists after robust adjustment for confounders. Further, the mechanism mediating this potential link remains unknown. Prior studies show that anxiety and depression associate with heightened str...
Article
Full-text available
Background Prior studies suggest that moderate alcohol intake may associate with a lower incidence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT). However, it is unclear if this association persists after robust adjustment for confounders. Moreover, the mechanisms mediating this potential benefit are unclear. Prior studies show that chronic stress promotes stres...
Article
Background Chronic transportation noise exposure associates with cardiovascular events through a link involving heightened stress-associated neurobiological activity (as amygdalar metabolic activity, AmygA) on ¹⁸F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (¹⁸F-FDG-PET/CT). Increased AmygA also associates with greater visce...
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Full-text available
Aims Activity in the amygdala, a brain centre involved in the perception of and response to stressors, associates with: (i) heightened sympathetic nervous system and inflammatory output and (ii) risk of cardiovascular disease. We hypothesized that the amygdalar activity (AmygA) ratio is heightened among individuals who develop Takotsubo syndrome (T...
Article
The trauma memory is a crucial feature of PTSD etiology and maintenance. Nonetheless, the nature of memories associated with childbirth-related posttraumatic stress disorder (CB-PTSD) requires explication. The present study, as part of a larger project on psychological outcomes of childbirth, utilized a multi-method approach to characterize childbi...
Article
BACKGROUND: Chronic exposure to socioeconomic or environmental stressors associates with greater stress-related neurobiological activity (ie, higher amygdalar activity [AmygA]) and higher risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). However, among individuals exposed to such stressors, it is unknown whether neurobiological resilience (NBResi...
Article
Stress is a pervasive component of the human experience. While often considered an adversity to be ignored, chronic stress has important pathological consequences, including cardiovascular disease (CVD). Stress also increases the prevalence and severity of several CVD risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and obesity. Yet even af...
Article
Objective: Approximately 5%-20% of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and another 11%-23% have traumatic brain injury (TBI). Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBTs) are empirically validated treatment strategies for PTSD. However, cognitive limitations may interfere with an individual's ability...
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Childbirth is a life-transforming event often followed by a time of heightened psychological vulnerability in the mother. There is a growing recognition of the importance of obstetrics aspects in maternal well-being with the way of labor potentially influencing psychological adjustment following parturition or failure thereof. Empirical scrutiny on...
Article
Aims: Chronic noise exposure associates with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk; however, the role of confounders and the underlying mechanism remain incompletely defined. The amygdala, a limbic centre involved in stress perception, participates in the response to noise. Higher amygdalar metabolic activity (AmygA) associates with increase...
Article
Background: Lower socioeconomic status (SES) associates with a higher risk of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) via mechanisms that are not well understood. Objectives: Because psychosocial stress is more prevalent among those with low SES, this study tested the hypothesis that stress-associated neurobiological pathways involving up-regulated...
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Full-text available
Purpose of review This manuscript reviews the epidemiological data linking psychosocial stress to cardiovascular disease (CVD), describes recent advances in understanding the biological pathway between them, discusses potential therapies against stress-related CVD, and identifies future research directions. Recent findings Metabolic activity of th...
Conference Paper
Introduction: In individuals without chronic inflammatory conditions, chronic stress independently associates with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in part via a mechanism that involves heightened activity of the amygdala. Psoriasis (PSO), a chronic inflammatory condition, with increased prevalence of stress and subclinical CVD, provides a useful human...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction: Environmental noise has been linked to metabolic diseases, including increased obesity and diabetes (DM). However, the mechanism linking noise to these diseases is undefined. Neural activity of the amygdala (AmygA), a brain center critically involved in stress perception, associates with adiposity and DM risk. Accordingly, we tested t...
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Objectives: This study hypothesized that there is an association between chronic stress (as indexed by resting amygdalar activity [AmygA]), hematopoietic system activity (HMPA), and subclinical cardiovascular indexes (aortic vascular inflammation [VI] and noncalcified coronary plaque burden [NCB]) in psoriasis (PSO). The study also hypothesized th...
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Full-text available
Context Epidemiologic data link psychological stress to adiposity. However, the underlying mechanisms remain uncertain. Objectives To test the hypotheses that: 1) higher activity of the amygdala, a neural center involved in the emotional and physiological response to stress, associates with greater visceral adipose tissue [VAT] volumes, and 2) thi...
Article
While it is established that psychosocial stress increases the risk of developing diabetes mellitus (DM), two key knowledge gaps remain: 1) the neurobiological mechanisms that are involved in mediating that risk, and 2) the role, if any, that adiposity plays in that mechanism. We tested the hypotheses that: 1) metabolic activity in the amygdala (Am...
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Full-text available
Objective: The authors assessed the efficacy of trauma memory reactivation performed under the influence of propranolol, a noradrenergic beta-receptor blocker, as a putative reconsolidation blocker, in reducing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Method: This was a 6-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial...
Article
Background Previous research has shown relatively diminished medial prefrontal cortex activation and heightened psychophysiological responses during the recollection of personal events in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the origin of these abnormalities is unknown. Twin studies provide the opportunity to determine whether such abnormalit...
Article
The authors examined 28 dementia inpatients receiving treatment as usual. Beginning-to-end differences in neuropsychiatric symptoms and actigraphic sleep patterns were measured. Using a mixed-model, the authors regressed neuropsychiatric symptoms on average sleep minutes (between-subjects effect) and each night's deviation from average (within-subj...
Article
Seventy-three women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from rape or physical assault participated in a loud-tone procedure, while skin conductance (SC), heart rate, and electromyogram responses were recorded. Pearson correlations were examined between each psychophysiological response and Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) sy...
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Background: Emotional stress is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. We imaged the amygdala, a brain region involved in stress, to determine whether its resting metabolic activity predicts risk of subsequent cardiovascular events. Methods: Individuals aged 30 years or older without known cardiovascular disease or active canc...
Article
Propranolol administered immediately after learning or after recall has been found to impair memory consolidation or reconsolidation (respectively) in animals, but less reliably so in humans. Since reconsolidation impairment has been proposed as a treatment for mental disorders that have at their core an emotional memory, it is desirable to underst...
Article
A brief 10-min time delay between an initial and subsequent exposure to extinction trials has been found to impair memory reconsolidation in fear-conditioned rodents and humans, providing a potential means to reduce fearfulness in anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The present study used videos of biologically prepared, con...
Article
There is substantial variability across individuals in the magnitudes of their skin conductance (SC) responses during the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. To manage this variability, subjects may be matched for demographic variables, such as age, gender and education. However, limited data exist addressing how much variability in con...
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This study evaluated the degree of mixed-handedness in predominantly right-handed Vietnam combat veteran twins and their identical, combat-unexposed cotwins. The "high-risk" cotwins of combat veterans with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had more mixed-handedness (i.e., less right-handedness) than the "low-risk" cotwins of comba...
Article
There is substantial variability across individuals in the magnitudes of their skin conductance (SC) responses during the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. To manage this variability, subjects may be matched for demographic variables, such as age, gender and education. However, limited data exist addressing how much variability in con...
Article
Neurological soft signs (NSSs) tap into a variety of perceptual, motor, and cognitive functions. The authors administered a battery of NSSs serially to a group of 14 pilot patients recruited from an emergency room after they experienced a mild traumatic brain injury. Patients were seen within 96 hours after injury, and again 30 and 90 days later. M...
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Smoking cue exposure reactivates salient smoking-related memories, triggering craving to smoke, a phenomenon associated with maintenance of smoking behavior and relapse after periods of abstinence. Acute β-adrenergic blockade with propranolol reduces physiologic reactivity during subsequent recollection of traumatic events by inhibiting reconsolida...
Article
Pharmacologic blockade of memory reconsolidation has been demonstrated in fear-conditioned rodents and humans and may provide a means to reduce fearfulness in anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Studying the efficacy of potential interventions in clinical populations is challenging, creating a need for paradigms within which candid...
Article
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may involve over-consolidated emotional memories of the traumatic event. Reactivation (RP) can return a memory to an unstable state, from which it must be restabilized (reconsolidated) if it is to persist. Pharmacological agents administered while the memory is unstable have been shown to impair reconsolidation....
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The physiological consequences of acute and chronic stress on a range of organ systems have been well documented after the pioneering work of Hans Selye more than 70 years ago. More recently, an association between exposure to stressful life events and the development of later-life cognitive dysfunction has been proposed. Several plausible neurohor...
Article
Objective: In a previous, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) showed lower physiological response during script-driven traumatic imagery 1 week after receiving a single dose of propranolol given after the retrieval of a traumatic memory. We hypothesized that this effect would extend beyond 1 w...
Article
Within-session habituation and extinction learning co-occur as do subsequent consolidation of habituation (i.e., between-session habituation) and extinction memory. We sought to determine whether, as we predicted: (1) between-session habituation is greater across a night of sleep versus a day awake; (2) time-of-day accounts for differences; (3) bet...
Article
A pathophysiological model of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) posits that an overly strong stress response at the time of the traumatic event leads to overconsolidation of the event's memory in part through a central β-adrenergic mechanism. We hypothesized that the presence of a β-blocker in the patient's brain at the time of the traumatic eve...
Article
Background: Considering the pivotal role of negative emotional experiences in the development and persistence of mental disorders, effectively interfering with the consolidation/reconsolidation of such experiences would open the door to a novel treatment approach in psychiatry.Objective: We assessed the current evidence regarding the capacity of th...
Article
Dissociative disorders are frequent and clinically relevant conditions in psychiatric populations. Yet, their recognition in clinical practice is often poor. This study evaluated the performance of three well known and internationally used dissociation scales in screening for dissociative disorders. Consecutively treated out- and day care-patients...
Article
Detecting unexpected environmental change causes modulation of autonomic activity essential for survival. Understanding the neural mechanisms associated with responses to loud sounds may provide insights into the pathophysiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), since individuals with PTSD exhibit heightened autonomic responses to unexpected...
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Intense subjective distress and physiologic reactivity upon exposure to reminders of the traumatic event are each diagnostic features of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, subjective reports and psychophysiological data often suggest different conclusions. For the present study, we combined data from five previous studies to assess the...
Article
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias. A meeting hosted by the Alzheimer's Association and the Veterans' Health Research Institute (NCIRE) in May 2012 brought together...
Conference Paper
Background / Purpose: Reactivation of a consolidated memory may return it to a labile state, from which it must be “reconsolidated” in order to persist. The present study investigated whether D-cycloserine (DCS) plus mifepristone at the time of traumatic memory reactivation can block reconsolidation, measured as a reduction in psychophysiologic r...
Article
Objective/Introduction Secondary pharmacological interventions have shown promise at reducing the development of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSS) in preclinical studies. The present study examined the preliminary efficacy of a 10-day low-dose (20 mg bid) course of hydrocortisone at preventing PTSS in traumatic injury victims. Sixty-fou...
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Increased neurological soft signs (NSSs) have been found in a number of neuropsychiatric syndromes, including chemical addiction. The present study examined NSSs related to perceptual-motor and visuospatial processing in a behavioral addiction viz., pathological gambling (PG). As compared to mentally healthy individuals, pathological gamblers displ...
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Synaptic mechanisms underlying memory reconsolidation after retrieval are largely unknown. Here we report that synapses in projections to the lateral nucleus of the amygdala implicated in auditory fear conditioning, which are potentiated by learning, enter a labile state after memory reactivation, and must be restabilized through a postsynaptic mec...
Article
A Brief Nosological History of PTSD The modern conceptualization of what we now call posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) originated with the European neurologists Jean-Martin Charcot and Hermann Oppenheim, who treated victims of railroad and industrial accident in the late nineteenth century. Both Charcot and Oppenheim regarded the disorder as ste...
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Background PTSD is associated with reduction in hippocampal volume and abnormalities in hippocampal function. Hippocampal asymmetry has received less attention, but potentially could indicate lateralised differences in vulnerability to trauma. The P300 event-related potential component reflects the immediate processing of significant environmental...
Article
Background: Considering the pivotal role of negative emotional experiences in the development and persistence of mental disorders, interfering with the consolidation/reconsolidation of such experiences would open the door to a novel treatment approach in psychiatry. We conducted a meta-analysis on the experimental evidence regarding the capacity o...
Article
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during which the patient is asked to hold in mind a disturbing image, an associated negative cognition, and bodily sensations associated with a traumatic memory, while tracking the clinician's moving finger in front of his or he...
Article
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the only major mental disorder for which a cause is considered to be known: that is, an event that involves threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others and induces a response of intense fear, helplessness or horror. Although PTSD is still largely regarded as a psychological phenomenon, over the pas...
Article
Rationale/statement of the problem : Animal research has challenged the permanency of memory by suggesting that reactivation (retrieval) of a specific memory may return it to a labile state from which it must be “re-consolidated” if it is to persist. Pharmacologically blocking reconsolidation offers the therapeutic possibility of weakening traumati...
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Full-text available
Exposure to traumatic events can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Current PTSD treatments typically only produce partial improvement. Hence, there is a need for preclinical research to identify new candidate drugs and to develop novel therapeutic approaches. Animal studies have indicated that fear memories can be weakened by blocking r...
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Full-text available
Some evidence suggests a hyperdopaminergic state in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The 9-repetition allele (9R) located in the 3' untranslated region of the dopamine transporter (DAT) gene (SLC6A3) is more frequent among PTSD patients. In vivo molecular imaging studies have shown that healthy 9R carriers have increased striatal DAT binding....