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Neuroimaging Soon After Trauma May Predict Stress Response

Three clusters replicated in samples with variety of trauma types; clusters showed different patterns of posttrauma symptoms

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FRIDAY, Oct. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Neuroimaging phenotypes identified soon after trauma are associated with posttrauma outcomes, according to a study published online Oct. 14 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Jennifer S. Stevens, Ph.D., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues recruited 146 participants (69 and 77 in a discovery and internal replication cohort, respectively) from emergency departments within 72 hours of trauma. Participants were followed with a survey, functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and physiological assessments for the next six months.

The researchers found that two weeks after a motor vehicle collision, task-based functional MRI identified four clusters of individuals based on profiles of neural activity, reflecting threat reactivity, reward reactivity, and inhibitory engagement. In an independent sample with a variety of trauma types, three clusters were replicated. Different longitudinal patterns of posttrauma symptoms were seen for the clusters.

"Neuroimaging phenotypes emerging in the early aftermath of trauma are associated with risk of or resilience to trauma-related psychopathology," the authors write. "The biotypes identified here, with further development to assess normative values and precision, may provide important information about targeted interventions to address different forms of future stress-related psychopathology."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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