Longitudinal MRI study of hippocampal volume in trauma survivors with PTSDO. 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
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.