Dysfunctional information processing in individuals with acute exposure to sexual abuse: An ERP study

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Acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may occur after traumatic event and also cause significant life time impairment. P300 event-related potential (ERP) is a potential biological marker for PTSD and can reflect cognitive impairment in information processing and attention. Despite the usefulness of ERP, there are few attempts to reveal relationships between ASD and P300. In the present study, we aimed to determine if the P300 of the patients who were the victims of sexual abuse reflected the quantitative trait of ASD or if P300 is applicable as a state marker for predicting the risk of PTSD.Fifteen female victims of sexual abuse diagnosed with ASD and 18 healthy controls (HCs) without trauma exposure participated in this study. We investigated the P300 ERPs in patients with ASD to compare them with those of HCs. ERPs were acquired from female adults during an auditory oddball task. Between-group differences in amplitudes or latencies of P300 were investigated using repeated-measures analysis of variance.The ASD groups showed reduced P300 amplitudes at the midline centroparietal site as well as reduced accuracy rates during an auditory oddball task compared with the HCs.These results indicate that ASD have abnormalities in the P300 compared to those in HCs. Moreover, the reduction in P300 could be considered a candidate neurophysiological marker for ASD.

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