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Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Mar 15;55(6):612-20.

Neural correlates of the classic color and emotional stroop in women with abuse-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory Center for Positron Emission Tomography, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



The anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex play an important role in the inhibition of responses, as measured by the Stroop task, as well as in emotional regulation. Dysfunction of the anterior cingulate/medial prefrontal cortex has been implicated in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The purpose of this study was to use the Stroop task as a probe of anterior cingulate function in PTSD.


Women with early childhood sexual abuse-related PTSD (n = 12) and women with abuse but without PTSD (n = 9) underwent positron emission tomographic measurement of cerebral blood flow during exposure to control, color Stroop, and emotional Stroop conditions.


Women with abuse with PTSD (but not abused non-PTSD women) had a relative decrease in anterior cingulate blood flow during exposure to the emotional (but not color) classic Stroop task. During the color Stroop there were also relatively greater increases in blood flow in non-PTSD compared with PTSD women in right visual association cortex, cuneus, and right inferior parietal lobule.


These findings add further evidence for dysfunction of a network of brain regions, including anterior cingulate and visual and parietal cortex, in abuse-related PTSD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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