Focal brain damage protects against post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans
Huey, Edward D.
Wassermann, Eric M.
Date of Issue2008
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an often debilitating mental illness that is characterized by recurrent distressing memories of traumatic events. PTSD is associated with hypoactivity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), hyperactivity in the amygdala and reduced volume in the hippocampus, but it is unknown whether these neuroimaging findings reflect the underlying cause or a secondary effect of the disorder. To investigate the causal contribution of specific brain areas to PTSD symptoms, we studied a unique sample of Vietnam War veterans who suffered brain injury and emotionally traumatic events. We found a substantially reduced occurrence of PTSD among those individuals with damage to one of two regions of the brain: the vmPFC and an anterior temporal area that included the amygdala. These results suggest that the vmPFC and amygdala are critically involved in the pathogenesis of PTSD.
DRNTU::Science::Biological sciences::Human anatomy and physiology::Neurobiology
© 2008 Nature Publishing Group. This paper was published in Nature Neuroscience and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of Nature Publishing Group. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn2032]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.