We have updated our privacy policy. If you have any question, contact us at privacy@scicrunch.org. Dismiss and don't show again

Searching across hundreds of databases

Our searching services are busy right now. Your search will reload in five seconds.

Forgot Password

If you have forgotten your password you can enter your email here and get a temporary password sent to your email.

A.E. Bennett Research Award. Developmental traumatology. Part II: Brain development.

Biological psychiatry | May 15, 1999

BACKGROUND: Previous investigations suggest that maltreated children with a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) evidence alterations of biological stress systems. Increased levels of catecholaminergic neurotransmitters and steroid hormones during traumatic experiences in childhood could conceivably adversely affect brain development. METHODS: In this study, 44 maltreated children and adolescents with PTSD and 61 matched controls underwent comprehensive psychiatric and neuropsychological assessments and an anatomical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan. RESULTS: PTSD subjects had smaller intracranial and cerebral volumes than matched controls. The total midsagittal area of corpus callosum and middle and posterior regions remained smaller; while right, left, and total lateral ventricles were proportionally larger than controls, after adjustment for intracranial volume. Brain volume robustly and positively correlated with age of onset of PTSD trauma and negatively correlated with duration of abuse. Symptoms of intrusive thoughts, avoidance, hyperarousal or dissociation correlated positively with ventricular volume, and negatively with brain volume and total corpus callosum and regional measures. Significant gender by diagnosis effect revealed greater corpus callosum area reduction in maltreated males with PTSD and a trend for greater cerebral volume reduction than maltreated females with PTSD. The predicted decrease in hippocampal volume seen in adult PTSD was not seen in these subjects. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that the overwhelming stress of maltreatment experiences in childhood is associated with adverse brain development.

Pubmed ID: 10349033 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Adolescent | Adult | Age Factors | Age of Onset | Brain | Catecholamines | Child | Child Abuse | Child Abuse, Sexual | Comorbidity | Corpus Callosum | Cross-Sectional Studies | Female | Hippocampus | Humans | Hydrocortisone | Magnetic Resonance Imaging | Male | Mental Disorders | Psychiatric Status Rating Scales | Sex Factors | Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic