Memory in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Stress and emotional memory (SEME)

People : Jacques Dayan, Bérengère Guillery-Girard, Armelle Viard

This project aims at identifying neuroanatomical and neurofunctional impairments due to traumatic stress in adolescents. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a problem of public health and is often mentionned in the news (civilian violence, military assaults and catastrophic situations). Its effect on the development of an individual is of primary concern. This mutlicentric research project (Hospitals of Caen, Rouen, Rennes) follows an initial behavioural study on emotional memory impairments in adolescents presenting a PTSD (Guillery-Girard et al. (in press) “Disorganized in time”: Impact of bottom-up and top-down negative emotion generation on memory formation among healthy and traumatized adolescents. J Physiol Paris).


Figure 1 : Emotion generation and episodic memory in adolescents with PTSD: two distinct profiles (Guillery-Girard et al., in press).

Figure 1 : Emotion generation and episodic memory in adolescents with PTSD: two distinct profiles (Guillery-Girard et al., in press).


In this new study, we use anatomical and functional MRI to compare a group of adolescents presenting a chronic PTSD and a group of aged matched controls (between 13 and 18 years old). Psychiatric and neuropsychological investigations are administered, using both validated instruments and original tests developed in the lab. Depression is an exclusion criteria. The neuroimaging part comprises anatomical (whole brain and hippocampal sequence developed in the lab) and functional (resting state and activation) exams. The resting state study will help pinpoint the specificity of the developmental connectivity and its modification in PTSD. The activation cognitive task will test both episodic memory and perception of self (see IMAP project for further details).

This activation study will evaluate brain activity linked to encoding and recall of a material requiring an appreciation of the Self (Self appraisal). It will be particularly interesting to test the proposal of an inhibition of anterior cingulate activity and evaluate the implication of other brain areas in relation to the regulation of emotional memory (e.g., amygdala) and autobiographical memory (e.g., hippocampus) – see Dégeilh et al. (2013) Memory impairment in posttraumatic stress disorder: behavioural and neuroimaging findings. Revue de Neuropsychologie, 5, 45-55 (review in French).


Figure 2 : Anatomical and functional brain alterations linked to PTSD in adults (Dégeilh et al., 2013).

Figure 2 : Anatomical and functional brain alterations linked to PTSD in adults (Dégeilh et al., 2013).


This project will help, beyond a better understanding of the pathological sequels, to establish memory profiles and will offer a diagnostic and follow-up of young PTSD patients.

 

Students : Fanny Dégeilh (PhD).

Collaborations : Pedopsychiatric units of the hospitals of Caen, Rouen and Rennes.