Su Lui and Long Chen contributed equally to this work.
Impact of acute stress on human brain microstructure: An MR diffusion study of earthquake survivors
Article first published online: 31 OCT 2011
Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Human Brain Mapping
Volume 34, Issue 2, pages 367–373, February 2013
How to Cite
Chen, L., Lui, S., Wu, Q.-Z., Zhang, W., Zhou, D., Chen, H.-F., Huang, X.-Q., Kuang, W.-H., Chan, R. C., Mechelli, A. and Gong, Q.-Y. (2013), Impact of acute stress on human brain microstructure: An MR diffusion study of earthquake survivors. Hum. Brain Mapp., 34: 367–373. doi: 10.1002/hbm.21438
- Issue published online: 4 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 31 OCT 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 23 MAR 2011
- Manuscript Received: 30 NOV 2010
- National Basic Research Program of China. Grant Number: 973 Program 2007CB512305/2
- National Natural Science Foundation. Grant Numbers: 81030027, 30900361
- Distinguished Young Scholars of Sichuan. Grant Number: 2011JQ0005
- Programs for New Century Excellent Talents in University. Grant Number: NCET-10-0596; Dr QY Gong also acknowledges the support from the American CMB Distinguished Professorship Award administered by the Institute of International Education, USA
- diffusion tensor imaging
A characterization of the impact of natural disasters on the brain of survivors is critical for a better understanding of posttraumatic responses and may inform the development of more effective early interventions. Here we report alterations in white matter microstructure in survivors soon after Wenchuan earthquake in China in 2008. Within 25 days after the Wenchuan earthquake, 44 healthy survivors were recruited and scanned on a 3T MR imaging system. The survivors were divided into two groups according to their self-rating anxiety scale (SAS) score, including the SAS(+) (SAS > 55 after correction) group and “SAS(−)” (SAS < 55 after correction) group. Thrity-two healthy volunteers were also recruited as control group before earthquake. Individual maps of fractional anisotropy (FA) were calculated and voxel-based analysis (VBA) was performed to allow the comparison between survivors and controls using ANCOVAs in SPM2. In addition, a correlation between SAS score and regional FA value was examined using Pearson's correlation analysis in SPSS 11.5. Compared with the healthy cohort, the whole group of 44 survivors showed significantly decreased FA values in the right prefrontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the basal ganglia, and the right parahippocampus. These effects did not appear to depend on self-rating anxiety. For the first time we provide evidence that acute trauma altered cerebral microstructure within the limbic system; furthermore, these alterations are evident shortly after the traumatic event, highlighting the need for early evaluation and intervention for trauma survivors. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.