Brain Structure Alterations Observed in Children With PTSD

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Researchers used MRI to detect variations in neural connections among earthquake survivors.
Researchers used MRI to detect variations in neural connections among earthquake survivors.

HealthDay News — The brains of children with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have structural differences not seen in the brains of children without the disorder, according to a study published online Oct. 25 in Radiology.

The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare brain structure in 24 children with PTSD and 23 without the disorder. All the participants had experienced the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in south central China that killed nearly 70,000 people and injured more than 370,000. The investigators found that the two groups of children had significant differences in the network of neural connections in the brain.

"The PTSD group had changes suggestive of decreased local and global network efficiency due to damage or disconnection between linked regions," lead author Qiyong Gong, MD, PhD, from the West China Hospital of Sichuan University, and colleagues said in a news release from the Radiological Society of North America.

The findings could help lead to new treatments for PTSD, the researchers added. They hope to perform follow-up brain imaging on at least some of the children in the study to learn more about brain changes associated with PTSD.

Reference

Suo X, Lei D, Chen F, et al. Anatomic insights into disrupted small-world networks in pediatric post-traumatic stress disorder. Radiology. DOI: 10.1148/radiol.2016160907

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