Integrative assessment of brain and cognitive function in post-traumatic stress disorder
Veltmeyer, MD and Clark, CR and McFarlane, AC and Felmingham, KL and Bryant, RA and Gordon, E, Integrative assessment of brain and cognitive function in post-traumatic stress disorder, Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 4, (1) pp. 145-159. ISSN 0219-6352 (2005) [Refereed Article]
The present study combined neuropsychological and electrophysiological measures to obtain a comprehensive profile of the everyday attentional and memory dysfunction reported in PTSD. The event-related potential (ERP) literature has consistently found abnormalities in late components (N2, P3) reflecting working memory (WM) function. However, the neuropsychological profile reported in the literature has considerable variation. The present study examined ERP activity in 33 PTSD participants and matched controls during a standard two-tone auditory oddball task. Neuropsychological assessment was carried out using a task battery assessing a wide range of cognitive functions. Consistent with previous work, the PTSD group showed delayed N2 latency and reduced P3 target amplitude, together with slower and less accurate target detection. Scalp topography provided evidence of widespread abnormality during WM function, but with strongest effects broadly over the left hemisphere. Neuropsychological testing found concomitant difficulties on factorial measures of verbal memory retention/access and sustained attention but enhanced performance on measures of immediate recall. This integrative pattern of effects reflects a specific impairment in the operation of working memory systems that guide ongoing, planned behavior and that facilitate the acquisition and retention of new memories.
ERPs; PTSD; neuropsychology; P3, N2; working memory