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Psychiatry Res. 2005 Jul 30;139(2):89-99.

Smaller head of the hippocampus in Gulf War-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, MAP, 15K North Drive, Room #111, MSC 2670, Bethesda, MD 20892-2670, USA.


Reductions in hippocampal volume and impairment in short-term verbal memory have been reported in Vietnam combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and in women with abuse-related PTSD. The present investigation evaluated hippocampal volume and memory in Gulf War veterans. This research is timely given the ongoing war in Iraq and the anticipated high rates of PTSD among returning combat soldiers. Fourteen veterans with PTSD related to traumatic experiences during the Gulf War (1990-1991), 23 deployed veterans without PTSD, 22 non-deployed reservists and 29 healthy civilians were studied. Volumes of the hippocampus, temporal lobe, and whole brain were measured on coronal MRI scans, and hippocampal mediated memory function was evaluated. The head of the hippocampus was the only subregion that was significantly smaller in Gulf War veterans with PTSD than in healthy civilians. Deployed veterans with PTSD, deployed veterans without PTSD, and non-deployed reservists had significantly smaller whole hippocampal volume and lower scores on immediate and delayed verbal and visual retrieval compared with healthy civilians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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