Background: Previous research suggests that individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) preferentially attend to trauma-related emotional stimuli and have difficulty completing unrelated concurrent tasks. Compared to trauma-exposed control groups, individuals with PTSD also exhibit lower rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) activation during tasks involving interference ... read morefrom trauma-related stimuli. However, it is not clear whether relatively diminished rACC activation in PTSD also occurs during interference tasks involving trauma-unrelated emotional stimuli. The present study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and an interference task that involves emotional facial expressions and elicits rACC activation in healthy participants. Findings: While performing a trauma-unrelated emotional interference task, participants with PTSD (n=17) showed less rACC activation than trauma-exposed non-PTSD (TENP; n=18) participants. In the PTSD group, rACC activation was negatively correlated with the severity of re-experiencing symptoms. The two groups did not significantly differ on behavioral measures (i.e., response times and error rates). Conclusions: These findings suggest that relatively diminished rACC activation in PTSD can be observed in interference tasks involving trauma-unrelated emotional stimuli, indicating a more general functional brain abnormality in this disorder. Future neuroimaging studies need not employ trauma-related stimuli in order to detect rACC abnormalities in PTSD.read less
Offringa, Reid, Kathryn Handwerger Brohawn, Lindsay K Staples, Stacey J Dubois, Katherine C Hughes, Danielle L Pfaff, Michael B VanElzakker, F C Davis, and Lisa M Shin. "Diminished rostral anterior cingulate cortex activation during trauma-unrelated emotional interference in PTSD." Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders 3, no. 10 (2013).