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Reduced amygdala and ventral striatal activity to happy faces in PTSD is associated with emotional numbing

Citation

Felmingham, KL and Falconer, EM and Williams, L and Kemp, AH and Allen, A and Peduto, F and Bryant, RA, Reduced amygdala and ventral striatal activity to happy faces in PTSD is associated with emotional numbing, PLoS One, 9, (9) Article e103653. ISSN 1932-6203 (2014) [Refereed Article]


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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103653

Abstract

There has been a growing recognition of the importance of reward processing in PTSD, yet little is known of the underlying neural networks. This study tested the predictions that (1) individuals with PTSD would display reduced responses to happy facial expressions in ventral striatal reward networks, and (2) that this reduction would be associated with emotional numbing symptoms. 23 treatment-seeking patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder were recruited from the treatment clinic at the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, Westmead Hospital, and 20 trauma-exposed controls were recruited from a community sample. We examined functional magnetic resonance imaging responses during the presentation of happy and neutral facial expressions in a passive viewing task. PTSD participants rated happy facial expression as less intense than trauma-exposed controls. Relative to controls, PTSD participants revealed lower activation to happy (-neutral) faces in ventral striatum and and a trend for reduced activation in left amygdala. A significant negative correlation was found between emotional numbing symptoms in PTSD and right ventral striatal regions after controlling for depression, anxiety and PTSD severity. This study provides initial evidence that individuals with PTSD have lower reactivity to happy facial expressions, and that lower activation in ventral striatal-limbic reward networks may be associated with symptoms of emotional numbing.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:happy faces, reward, fMRI, PTSD, nucleus accumbens
Research Division:Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Research Group:Psychology
Research Field:Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions)
Objective Field:Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) not elsewhere classified
Author:Felmingham, KL (Professor Kim Felmingham)
ID Code:97588
Year Published:2014
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (1050848)
Web of Science® Times Cited:21
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2014-12-24
Last Modified:2017-11-06
Downloads:433 View Download Statistics

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