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Psychiatry Res. 2010 Sep 30;183(3):181-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.01.015. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

Preserved subcortical volumes and cortical thickness in women with sexual abuse-related PTSD.

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  • 1UMR CNRS 6234 CeRCA, Tours, France.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been frequently associated with volumetric reductions of grey matter structures (e.g. hippocampus and anterior cingulate), but these results remain controversial, especially in female non-combat-related samples. The present study aimed at exploring whole-brain structures in women with sexual abuse-related PTSD on the basis of cortical and subcortical structure comparisons to a matched pair sample that was well-controlled. Seventeen young women who had experienced sexual abuse and who had a diagnosis of chronic PTSD based on the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV and 17 healthy controls individually matched for age and years of education were consecutively recruited. Both groups underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging and psychiatric assessment of the main disorders according to Axis I of DSM-IV. The resulting scans were analyzed using automated cortical and subcortical volumetric quantifications. Compared with controls, PTSD subjects displayed normal global and regional brain volumes and cortical thicknesses. Our results indicate preserved subcortical volumes and cortical thickness in a sample of female survivors of sexual abuse with PTSD. The authors discuss potential differences between neural mechanisms of sexual abuse-related PTSD and war-related PTSD.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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