Reduced hippocampal activity in youth with posttraumatic stress symptoms: An fMRI study

Victor G. Carrión, Brian W. Haas, Amy Garrett, Suzan Song, Allan L. Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


ObjectiveYouth who experience interpersonal trauma and have posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) develop cognitive deficits that impact their development. Our goal is to investigate the function of the hippocampus in adolescents with PTSS during a memory processing task.MethodsTwenty-seven adolescents between the ages of 10-17 years (16 with PTSS and 11 healthy controls) encoded and retrieved visually presented nouns (Verbal Declarative Memory Task) while undergoing fMRI scanning.ResultsThe PTSS group demonstrated reduced activation of the right hippocampus during the retrieval component of the task. Further, severity of symptoms of avoidance and numbing correlated with reduced left hippocampal activation during retrieval.ConclusionsDecreased activity of the hippocampus during a verbal memory task may be a neurofunctional marker of PTSS in youth with history of interpersonal trauma. The results of this study may facilitate the development of focused treatments and may be of utility when assessing treatment outcome for PTSS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-569
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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