Structural and functional neuroplasticity in posttraumatic stress disorder: fear learning and context processing

Siehl, Sebastian

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-593722
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2021
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Krüger, Frank
Date of oral examination: 20 April 2021
Publication language: English
Institution: Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences- CDSS (Social Sciences)
License: CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Keywords (English): posttraumatic stress disorder , neuroplasticity , context processing , white matter , gray matter , fMRI , VR
Abstract: In this thesis, structural and functional brain differences are investigated in three studies between patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and healthy trauma (TC) or non-trauma exposed (HC) control subjects and results are discussed within a common psychobiological model of PTSD. In this work, we provide a meta-analysis including 30 studies with 1,700 participants on structural white matter differences, investigate white and gray matter alterations in PTSD (154 subjects) and examine behavioral and psychophysiological alterations during contextual fear processing using virtual reality in a functional magnetic resonance imaging study (63 subjects). In summary, this work suggests that patients with PTSD show alterations in structural and functional brain activity that can both be associated to fear learning and context processing. Our work proposes above all that lower volume and activity within the prefrontal cortex in combination with functional alterations in the hippocampi can be associated with deficient contextual fear processing.

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