Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed differences in the glutamate + glutamine/creatine ratio of the anterior cingulate cortex between healthy and pediatric post-traumatic stress disorder patients diagnosed after 2008 Wenchuan earthquake

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Abstract

Aims:

Earthquakes always leave many surviving teenagers suffering from various mental problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We studied the metabolites in current and remitted pediatric PTSD patients and healthy controls after an earthquake, aiming to find the neurochemistry differences in these teenagers.

Methods:

Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) was performed in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of 21 healthy, 10 PTSD and 23 remitted subjects.

Results:

Significantly lower glutamate + glutamine/creatine (Glx/Cr) levels in the ACC (1.15 ± 0.14 vs 1.37 ± 0.08, P = 0.047) were found in PTSD subjects relative to remitted subjects; and significantly lower Glx/Cr levels in the ACC (1.37 ± 0.08 vs 1.59 ± 0.10, P = 0.045) were found in remitted subjects relative to healthy controls.

Conclusions:

Our findings imply that the Glx/Cr ratio in the ACC can be used to differentiate not only between healthy and pediatric PTSD patients, but also between the current and remitted phases of pediatric PTSD. The changes in the Glx/Cr ratio may be caused by brain dysfunction in the current phase and recovery in the remitted phase.

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