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Psychophysiology. 2003 Jul;40(4):492-500.

Activation of the prefrontal cortex to trauma-related stimuli measured by near-infrared spectroscopy in posttraumatic stress disorder due to terrorism.

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Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


To develop a noninvasive method for psychophysiological assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 34 victims of the Tokyo Subway Sarin Attack in 1995 including 8 diagnosed as PTSD and 12 controls were examined by a multichannel near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) system. Hemodynamic response in the prefrontal cortex was monitored during the presentation of trauma-related and control stimuli by video images. Skin conductance response (SCR) was also examined. Oxygenated hemoglobin significantly increased during the trauma-related image in the victims with or without PTSD. Deoxygenated hemoglobin significantly decreased only in victims with PTSD. No significant alteration was found in controls. Significantly enhanced SCR was also observed in the victims with PTSD during trauma-related stimuli. The findings suggest that measurement of cerebral hemodynamic response by NIRS is useful for psychophysiological assessment of PTSD.

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