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Stress-Related Disorders Affect Brain's Processing of Memory
Date:12/2/2008

compared to the healthy controls. During the memory suppression phase of the test, patients with stress-related disorders showed greater activation in the hippocampus, suggesting that insufficient activation of the prefrontal cortex could be the basis for inadequate suppression of unwanted traumatic memories stored in the hippocampus.

"These data suggest that the mechanism for memory suppression is dysfunctional in patients with stress-related disorders primarily because of an alteration of the prefrontal cortex," Dr. Agarwal said. "These patients often complain of poor memory, which might in part be attributed to this altered circuitry," she added.

According to Dr. Agarwal, fMRI is an important tool in understanding the neurobiological basis of psychiatric disorders and in identifying imaging markers to psychiatric disease, helping clinicians target specific parts of the brain for treatment.

The study's principal investigator is Paolo Brambilla, M.D., Ph.D. Co- authors are Monica Baiano, M.D., Ph.D., Massimo Bazzocchi, M.D., Giuseppe Como, M.D., and Marta Maieron, Ph.D.

    AT A GLANCE
    -- Researchers using fMRI have found that people with stress-
       related psychiatric disorders have difficulty suppressing
       traumatic memories.

    -- The brain's prefrontal cortex, which controls processing of
       memories, is dysfunctional in patients with stress-related
       psychiatric disorders.

    -- fMRI is an important tool in understanding psychiatric
       disorders.

Note: Copies of RSNA 2008 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press08 beginning Monday, Dec. 1.

RSNA is an association of more than 42,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to excellence in patient care through education and research. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org
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SOURCE Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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