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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997 Mar;54(3):233-41.

Visual imagery and perception in posttraumatic stress disorder. A positron emission tomographic investigation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Relative regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) changes were measured in Vietnam combat veterans with and without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during exposure to combat-related stimuli.

METHODS:

Positron emission tomography was used to measure rCBF in 7 combat veterans with PTSD (PTSD group) and 7 healthy combat veterans (control group) who viewed and generated visual mental images of neutral, negative, and combat-related pictures.

RESULTS:

Unlike control subjects, subjects with PTSD had increased rCBF in ventral anterior cingulate gyrus and right amygdala when generating mental images of combat-related pictures; when viewing combat pictures, subjects with PTSD showed decreased rCBF in Broca's area.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results suggest that ventral anterior cingulate gyrus and right amygdala play a role in the response of combat veterans with PTSD to mental images of combat-related scenes. Reexperiencing phenomena of PTSD, which often involve emotional visual mental imagery, may be likewise associated with increased rCBF in these regions.

PMID:
9075464
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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