An fMRI investigation of posttraumatic flashbacks.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Flashbacks are a defining feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but there have been few studies of their neural basis. We tested predictions from a dual representation model of PTSD that, compared with ordinary episodic memories of the same traumatic event, flashbacks would be associated with activity in dorsal visual stream and related areas rather than in the medial temporal lobe. Participants with PTSD, with depression but not PTSD, and healthy controls were scanned during a recognition task with personally relevant stimuli. The contrast of flashbacks versus ordinary episodic trauma memories in PTSD was associated with increased activation in sensory and motor areas including the insula, precentral gyrus, supplementary motor area, and mid-occipital cortex. The same contrast was associated with decreased activation in the midbrain, parahippocampal gyrus, and precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex. The results were discussed in terms of theories of PTSD and dual-process models of recognition.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Whalley, MG; Kroes, MCW; Huntley, Z; Rugg, MD; Davis, SW; Brewin, CR

Published Date

  • February 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 81 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 151 - 159

PubMed ID

  • 23207576

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3549493

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1090-2147

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.bandc.2012.10.002


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States