Classification of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder using visual brain evoked P3s to traumatic stimuli

Joseph Attias, Avi Bleich, Shlomo Gilat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) typically involves a re- experiencing of traumatic events. In a previous P3 study it was found that PTSD patients react both selectively and involuntarily to combat-related pictures, exhibiting augmented P3 event-related potentials and thus providing a brain activity measure. The clinical application of these findings in differentiating PTSD patients from controls was tested. Method. Twenty Israeli combat veterans suffering from PTSD and 20 age-matched veterans without PTSD were evaluated. P3 potentials were recorded at Pz and Cz in response to visual motor-task target stimuli (pictures of domestic animals), non-target probe stimuli (combat-related pictures), and non-target irrelevant stimuli (pictures of furnishings and flowers). Results. Using the Fisher Linear Discrimination Method the P3 measures correctly classified 90% of the PTSD patients and 85% of the controls. Conclusions. Visual P3s recorded in response to combat-related pictorial stimuli may introduce an efficient tool for studying higher brain activity in PTSD, complementing other behavioral and psychophysiological measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-115
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume168
Issue numberJAN.
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

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