Functional neuroimaging studies in posttraumatic stress disorder: review of current methods and findings

Authors

  • V. Francati M.Sc.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
    • Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neurosciences, University Medical Center, Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • E. Vermetten M.D., Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Military Psychiatry, Central Military Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • J.D. Bremner M.D.

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
    2. Department of Radiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
    3. Center for Positron Emission Tomography, Decatur, Georgia
    4. Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Decatur, Georgia
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Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder associated with changes in neural circuitry involving frontal and limbic systems. Altered metabolism in these brain structures after a traumatic event is correlated to PTSD. Developments in the field of neuroimaging have allowed researchers to look at the structural and functional properties of the brain in PTSD. Despite the relative novelty of functional imaging and its application to the field of PTSD, numerous publications have brought to light several of the circuits implied in this disorder. This article summarizes the findings with regard to PTSD in the functional imaging techniques of single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Furthermore, we discuss strengths and weaknesses of the various techniques and studies. Finally, we explore the future potential of functional neuroimaging studies in PTSD. Depression and Anxiety 24:202–218, 2007. Published 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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