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Functional Brain Imaging and PTSD 

Functional Brain Imaging and PTSD
Functional Brain Imaging and PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Aaron S. Heller


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with a host of neurobiological changes, including abnormalities in subcortical and cortical structure and function. The majority of neuroimaging studies have been motivated by a fear conditioning and extinction perspective to examine neural changes associated with PTSD. Several studies have found alterations in amygdala, hippocampal, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. However, not all studies have replicated these findings. This suggests that more nuanced models of PTSD may be needed to account for the pathophysiology of the disorder. This chapter reviews neuroimaging findings related to this fear model and discusses additional considerations, including trauma type, age of trauma, and affective neurodynamics, that may help to account for the lack of consistent replications. Explicit consideration of these factors may facilitate greater coherence among studies going forward and advance our understanding of the neurobiological alterations associated with PTSD.

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