POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS SYMPTOMS AND BRAIN FUNCTION DURING A RESPONSE-INHIBITION TASK: AN fMRI STUDY IN YOUTH


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Abstract

Youth who experience interpersonal trauma and have posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) can exhibit difficulties in executive function and physiological hyperarousal. Response inhibition has been identified as a core component of executive function. In this study, we investigate the functional neuroanatomical correlates of response inhibition in youth with PTSS. Thirty right-handed medication-naïve youth between the ages of 10 and 16 years underwent a 3-Tesla Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan during a responseinhibition (Go/No-Go) task. Youth with PTSS (n = 16) were age and gender matched to a control group of healthy youth (n = 14). Between-groups analyses were conducted to identify brain regions of greater activation in the No/Go-Go contrasts. PTSS and control youth performed the task with similar accuracy and response times. Control subjects had greater middle frontal cortex activation when compared with PTSS subjects. PTSS subjects had greater medial frontal activation when compared with control subjects. A sub-group of youth with PTSS and a history of self-injurious behaviors demonstrated increased insula and orbitofrontal activation when compared with those PTSS youth with no selfinjurious behaviors. Insula activation correlated positively with PTSS severity. Diminished middle frontal activity and enhanced medial frontal activity during response-inhibition tasks may represent underlying neurofunctional markers of PTSS.

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