Ann Psychiatr Clin Neurosci | Volume 3, Issue 1 | Review Article | Open Access

Structural Alterations in Cortical and Subcortical Region of Brain in Untreated Patients of PTSD: A Concise Review of Recent Medical Literature

Waqas Yasin1, Sani Zehra2, Gulraiz Karim Rind Baloch3, Syed Mujtaba Ali Naqvi4 and Ali Khan5*

1Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA 2Jinnah Medical and Dental College, Pakistan 3Department of Anatomy, Ziauddin University, Pakistan 4Department of Neurology, Texas Tech University El Paso, USA 5Dow University of Health and Sciences, Pakistan

*Correspondance to: Ali Khan 

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Although psychiatric illnesses are mostly considered to be psychogenic in nature, however with increasing resources and advances in medical study, anatomical neuroimaging studies of the affected brain areas can now provide a significant evidence of the structural abnormalities involved in the psychiatric disorders such as PTSD-first known as shell shock, then combat fatigue, which is considered to be associated with a wide range of traumatic events with an increased risk in individuals who are exposed to physical abuse, physical assault, or kidnapping thus people with PTSD may avoid situations that remind them of the traumatic events. Studies focusing on the structural brain changes in PTSD patients have found abnormalities in both gray and white matter specifically in hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and cerebellum. Advancing research has demonstrated changes in the volumetric measurement of hippocampus which is shown to increase or decrease depending upon different factors such as selective sample size or time of onset, age of onset or duration of the disease. These changes are evident with alteration in behavioral traits in PTSD patients which are known to be regulated via hippocampus. Research has shown that cortical thickness of the brain is also affected due to PTSD which is thought to be more prominent in the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC). Whether PTSD causes thickening or thinning of the cortex is believed to be dependent on time and the course of the disease and further research is required to find the most probable cause. Recent studies have shown that cerebellum also plays an important part in psychiatric diseases which contradicts with the earlier belief that cerebellum only regulates motor actives of the brain. Changes in the density of the cerebellum have provided evidence that psychiatric illness not only has their effect on cerebellum but they also change the anatomy of the human brain. The aim of this review is to provide concise information on the structural brain abnormalities in PTSD.


Posttraumatic stress disorder; Structural brain abnormalities; Grey matter; White matter; Cortex; Hippocampus and magnetic resonance imaging


Yasin W, Zehra S, Rind Baloch GK, Ali Naqvi SM, Khan A. Structural Alterations in Cortical and Subcortical Region of Brain in Untreated Patients of PTSD: A Concise Review of Recent Medical Literature. Ann Psychiatr Clin Neurosci. 2020; 3(1): 1025.

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