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Brain Cogn. 2001 Feb;45(1):64-78.

Measures of prefrontal system dysfunction in posttraumatic stress disorder.

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  • 1Psychiatric Epidemiology, Columbia School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Clinical observations have suggested that individuals who have suffered traumatic stressful events exhibit disruption in abilities mediated by frontal brain systems. Therefore, this study employed tasks sensitive to frontal lobe dysfunction, including delayed response (DR), delayed alternation (DA), object alternation (OA), delayed matching-to-sample (DMTS), and delayed nonmatching-to-sample (DNMTS), with participants having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Compared to controls, the PTSD participants were unimpaired on DA and DMTS, but they showed deficits on DR, OA, and DNMTS tasks. This pattern of results suggests disruption of functioning in selective prefrontal brain systems. Results are discussed in the context of the neuropsychological features of PTSD, as well as possible neuropathological and etiological underpinnings of this disorder.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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