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Developing an Integrated Brain, Behavior and Biological Response Profile in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 07:41 authored by Falconer, EM, Kim FelminghamKim Felmingham, Allen, A, Clark, CR, McFarlane, AC, Williams, LM, Bryant, RA
The present study sought to determine a profile of integrated behavioral, brain and autonomic alterations in PTSD. Previous findings suggest that PTSD is associated with changes across electrophysiological (EEG and ERP), autonomic and cognitive/behavioral measures. In particular, PTSD has been associated with reduced cognitive performance, altered cortical arousal (measured by EEG), diminished late ERP component to oddball task targets (reduced P3 amplitude) and increased autonomic arousal relative to healthy controls. The present study examined measures of cognitive function, auditory oddball ERP components, autonomic function (heart rate and skin conductance) and EEG during resting conditions in 44 individuals with PTSD and 44 non-trauma-exposed controls, and predicted that an integrated profile of changes across a number of these measures would show a high level of sensitivity and specificity in discriminating PTSD from controls. Nine variables showing strongly significant (p < 0.002) between-group differences were entered into a discriminant function analysis. Four of these measures successfully discriminated the PTSD and non-PTSD groups: change in tonic arousal, duration of attention switching, working memory reaction time and errors of commission during visuospatial maze learning. Tonic arousal change contributed the most variance in predicting group membership. These results extend previous findings and provide an integrated biomarker profile that characterizes both PTSD and non-PTSD groups with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. This outcome provides a platform for future studies to test how this profile of disturbances in autonomic and information processing may be unique to PTSD or may occur generically across clinical and/or other anxiety disorders.


Publication title

Journal of Integrative Neuroscience








School of Psychological Sciences


Imperial College Press

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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