Grey Matter Changes in the Brain Following Stress and Trauma

  • Maxwell Bennett
  • Jim Lagopoulos


The pathophysiology of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by a heightened sensitivity to certain stimuli perceived to be threatening, followed by inability to extinguish the resulting fear (Garfinkel and Liberzon 2009). Elucidating the neurobiology and neurocircuitry of PTSD constitutes an essential step in informing the detection and treatment of the disorder. To this end, significant efforts have focussed on determining why only a proportion of trauma-affected individuals go on to develop PTSD symptoms. Early studies have hypothesized an association between PTSD and atrophy in the hippocampus, amygdala and the prefrontal cortex (Karl et al. 2006). The link between PTSD and stress responses (Davis 1992; McEwen 1995; LeDoux 2000) has underscored the role of the amygdala and hippocampus in particular, although all three of these brain regions are critical for normal fear extinction and the regulation of emotions (Chen et al. 2012a, b, c).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maxwell Bennett
    • 1
  • Jim Lagopoulos
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of SydneyBrain and Mind CentreCamperdown NSWAustralia
  2. 2.Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience Thompson InstituteUniversity of Sunshine CoastBirtinyaAustralia

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