Longitudinal MRI study of hippocampal volume in trauma survivors with PTSD

O. Bonne, D. Brandes, A. Gilboa, J. Gomori, M. E. Shenton, R. K. Pitman, A. Y. Shalev
Am J Psychiatry
Volume 158, Number 8, Pages 1248-1251

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Objective: The authors prospectively explored whether a reduction in the volume of the hippocampus occurs in recent trauma survivors who develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Method: Thirty-seven survivors of traumatic events were assessed within a week of the traumatic event and 6 months later. The assessment included magnetic resonance imaging of the brain (including 124 coronal slices of 1.5-mm thickness), psychometric testing, and structured clinical interviews. The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale conferred PTSD diagnoses at 6 months.

Results: Ten subjects (27 subjects with PTSD did not differ from those without PTSD in hippocampal volume (right or left) at 1 week or 6 months. There was no reduction in hippocampal volume in the PTSD subjects between 1 week and 6 months.

Conclusions: Smaller hippocampal volume is not a necessary risk factor for developing PTSD and does not occur within 6 months of expressing the disorder. This brain abnormality might occur in individuals with chronic or complicated PTSD.


Bonne O, Brandes D, Gilboa A, Gomori J, Shenton ME, Pitman RK, Shalev AY. Longitudinal mri study of hippocampal volume in trauma survivors with ptsd. Am J Psychiatry 2001;158(8):1248-1251.


NIMH MH50379

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