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Neural Circuits in Women with Abuse and PTSD

Principal Investigator: J. Douglas Bremner, MD
Population: Women with childhood sexual abuse with or without PTSD
Summary:  Early childhood sexual abuse is an important public health problem that affects 16% of women before their 18th birthday and leads to chronic symptoms of
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in as many as a third of women. Preclinical and clinical research has established a network of brain regions that are sensitive to stress and mediate PTSD symptoms, including decreased function in the hippocampus and anterior cingulate/medial prefrontal cortex, and increased function in the amygdala.
The main purpose of this study is to look at the effects of paroxetine, an FDA approved drug, on memory, the hippocampus and the medial prefrontal lobe (sections in the brain involved in the memory process) in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD may result when a person is exposed to a very stressful event that is beyond what is experienced in everyday life. We anticipate enrolling 142 female subjects who meet the criteria for PTSD related to early childhood sexual abuse, and 20 female control subjects with a history of childhood sexual abuse but who do not have PTSD.
Carolina Lecours, Research Coordinator: 404-712-9536