While the clinical communities are aware of the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among OEF/OIF/OND veterans, further efforts are necessary to bolster comprehensive strategies for assessment and treatment. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a combat-related PTSD symptom provocation paradigm would elicit unique neurological responses via functional near-infrared spectroscopy across three groups – combat veterans with PTSD, combat veterans without PTSD, and nonmilitary participants without PTSD. Results indicated that combat veterans with PTSD demonstrated significant activation during exposure to a trauma-related sound compared to nonmilitary personnel at channels 14 (d = 1.03) and 15 (d = 1.30) and combat veterans without PTSD at channel 14 (d = 0.87). Specifically, this increased neural activation was approximately located in the right superior/medial prefrontal cortex (BA 9/10), associated with evaluating cue-familiarity and emotional detachment. Results were less clear with respect to a combat-related odor. These results suggest a specific neurophysiological response to trauma-related cues and if replicated, may offer a biomarker for combat-related PTSD. Such a response could provide incremental validity over diagnostic assessments alone and assist in planning and monitoring of treatment outcome.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Gramlich, Michael, "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or Combat Experience? A Functional Near-infrared Spectroscopy Study of Trauma-related Auditory and Olfactory Cues" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5412.