BSC investigators diagnose PTSD using fMRI

Extending results from their magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies of 2010, Brain Sciences Center researchers Peka Christova, Lisa M. James, Brian E. Engdahl, Scott M. Lewis and Apostolos P. Georgopoulos have published the paper "Diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) based on correlations of prewhitened fMRI data: outcomes and areas involved" in the journal Experimental Brain Research. Christova and her team successfully classified PTSD and control subjects using neural correlations from prewhitened resting-state fMRI data with 93.3% accuracy.



Successful diagnosis of PTSD has been achieved using neural correlations from prewhitened mag- netoencephalographic (MEG) time series (Georgopoulos et al. in J Neural Eng 7:16011, 2010. doi:10.1088/1741- 2560/7/1/016011; James et al. 2015). Here, we show that highly successful classification of PTSD and control sub- jects can be obtained using neural correlations from pre-whitened resting-state fMRI data. All but one PTSD (14/15; sensitivity = 93.3 %) and all but one control (20/21; speci- ficity = 95.2 %) subjects were correctly classified using 15 out of 2701 possible correlations between 74 brain areas. In contrast, correlations of the same but non-prewhitened data yielded chance-level classifications. We conclude that, if properly processed, fMRI has the prospect of aiding significantly in PTSD diagnosis. Twenty-five brain areas were most prominently involved in correct subject classification, including areas from all cortical lobes and the left pallidum.






PTSD and women veterans

Video: James research on PTSD and women vets

Dr. Lisa M. James talks about her study of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in women veterans in a new video featured on the Association of Medical Colleges 2015 Health Equity Research Snapshot website. The link to the movie is under the label "Neuropsychiatry Research" and may also be viewed on a YouTube© page.





Fig. 4 Two-dimensional (2D) sensor–space plots depicting the negative and positive modulation of local synchronous neural interactions (LSNI) in the control (left panel) and PTSD (right panel) groups.

Brain Sciences Center study reveals role of neural adaptation in healthy brain functioning

"Neural communication in posttraumatic growth" is the most recent publication by BSC researchers Samantha L. Anders, Carly K. Peterson, Lisa M. James, Brian E. Engdahl, Arthur Leuthold and Apostolos P. Georgopoulos. In this magnetoencephalography (MEG) study, they looked at posttraumatic growth (PTG), or positive psychological changes following exposure to traumatic events. The article is featured in the April 17 2015 issue of Experimental Brain Research.



Posttraumatic growth (PTG), or positive psychological changes following exposure to traumatic events, is commonly reported among trauma survivors. In the present study, we examined neural correlates of PTG in 106 veterans with PTSD and 193 veteran controls using task-free magnetoencephalography (MEG), diagnostic interviews and measures of PTG, and traumatic event exposure. Global synchronous neural interactions (SNIs) were significantly modulated downward with increasing PTG scores in controls (p = .005), but not in veterans with PTSD (p = .601). This effect was primarily characterized by negative slopes in local neural networks, was strongest in the medial prefrontal cortex, and was much stronger and more extensive in the control than the PTSD group. The present study complements previous research highlighting the role of neural adaptation in healthy functioning.



BSC discovers PTSD/personality traits link in vets

The April 2015 issue of Experimental Brain Research features a Brain Sciences Center research article authored by entitled, "DSM-5 personality traits discriminate between posttraumatic stress disorder and control groups."




The relevance of personality traits to the study of psychopathology has long been recognized, particularly in terms of understanding patterns of comorbidity. In fact, a multidimensional personality trait model reflecting five higher-order personality dimensions — negative affect, detachment, antagonism, disinhibition, and psychoticism — is included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and represented in the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5). However, evaluation of these dimensions and underlying personality facets within clinical samples has been limited. In the present study, we utilized the PID-5 to evaluate the personality profile elevation and composition of 150 control veterans and 35 veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Results indicated that veterans with PTSD endorsed significantly more personality pathology than control veterans, with scores on detachment and psychoticism domains most clearly discriminating between the two groups. When personality domain scores were considered as parts of each subject's personality profile, a slightly different picture emerged. Specifically, the PTSD composition was primarily characterized by detachment and negative affect, followed by disinhibition, psychoticism, and antagonism in that order of relative importance. The profile of the control group was significantly different, mostly accounted for differences in antagonism and psychoticism.

Using these complementary analytic strategies, the findings demonstrate the relevance of personality pathology to PTSD, highlight internalizing features of PTSD, and pave the way for future research aimed at evaluating the role of shared maladaptive personality traits in underlying the comorbidity of PTSD and related disorders.


2014 Berstein Prize

The International Society of Motor Control has elected BSC Director Apostolos Georgopoulos as the recipient of the 2015 Bernstein Prize. The Bernstein Prize is the highest award of the Society. It is presented at each biennial meeting to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the understanding of motor control as reflected in the spirit of Nikolai Alexandrovich Bernstein. The nomination process was supervised by the Vice-President and Awards Chairman of the Society, and the final selection was made by a vote of the Executive Committee and past Bernstein Prize awardees. The prize will be awarded at the next meeting of the ISMC, Progress in Motor Control X, which will be held between July 22-25, 2015, at the Hotel Novotel, Budapest City.


New BSC GWI Study

This summer, the Brain Sciences Center will embark on a 3-year research project entitled, "Gulf War Illness as a Brain Autoimmune Disorder". In order to to establish a rationale for diagnosis and treatment for vets with GWI, investigators will study its commonalities with multiple sclerosis, Sjogren's syndrome and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). More info...


Neural interactions/apoE
paper in Exp. Brain Res.

BSC investigators Vassilios Christopoulos, Angeliki Georgopoulos and Apostolos P. Georgopoulos have published their paper entitled,"The effect of apolipoprotein E4 on synchronous neural interactions in brain cultures" in the April 2015 issue of Experimental Brain Research.

To their knowledge, this is the first study of the effects of apoE4 on neural network function in vitro. ApoE4 has been associated with various aspects of brain function and disease. The mechanisms of action of apoE4 in the brain are only partially understood and encompass various levels of reference. At the gross disease level, apoE4 is a known risk for Alzheimer’s disease, is involved in early onset of Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology in Down’s syndrome, adversely affects the sequelae of traumatic brain injury, affects susceptibility, clinical type and progression rate in multiple sclerosis, and is associated with higher symptom severity in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In a previous study, we assessed the synchronous neural interactions (SNI) in a developing neural network in brain cultures on multielectrode arrays (Christopoulos et al. in J Neural Eng 9:046008, 2012). Here, we report on the effects of apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4) on these neural interactions. We carried out six experiments (five using rodent brain cultures and one using neuroblastoma cultures) in which we recorded local field potentials (LFP) from 59 sites for several days in vitro under the following conditions. In one experiment, we added to the culture media triglyceride (TG)-rich lipoproteins from a human subject with the apoE4/4 genotype, whereas in the other experiments, we added recombinant human apoE4. We found that SNI in the apoE4-treated cultures had higher coefficient of SNI variation, as compared to control cultures. These findings further document the role of SNI as a fundamental aspect of the dynamic organization of neural networks (Langheim et al. in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:455–459, 2006. doi:10.1073/pnas.0509623102; Georgopoulos et al. in J Neural Eng 4:349–355, 2007) and extend the effect of apoE4 on SNI (Leuthold et al. in Exp Brain Res 226:525–536, 2013) across different brain species (human, rodents), apoE source (TG-rich lipoproteins, recombinant), neural signals (MEG, LFP), and brain network (intact brain, developing brain in vitro). To our knowledge, this is the first study of the effects of apoE4 on neural network function in vitro.



Updated July 10, 2015