Objective: We conducted a follow-up study on a patient with enduring psychic shock-induced cognitive impairment to study by neuropsychological and functional imaging methods the degree of his recovery process on the brain and cognitive levels.
Background: Based on the assumption that trauma and stress conditions can alter the functions of the nervous systems, we report on a patient whom we studied 2 and 12 months after he suffered "mnestic block syndrome" and additional cognitive deterioration symptoms.
Methods: We report on a patient studied 2 and 12 months after he suffered "mnestic block syndrome" and additional cognitive deterioration symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography were used for neural and detailed neuropsychological testing for cognitive deficits.
Results: The patient initially manifested severe intellectual decline, including severe anterograde and retrograde amnesia. His symptoms were correlated with major, although selective, reductions in his brain metabolism (2-3 SD below those of controls). Presently, he shows a normal brain metabolism and has regained parts of his memory and many of his other intellectual capabilities. Nevertheless, he still has long-term memory impairments.
Conclusions: This case demonstrates a close relation between brain metabolism and cognitive performance, with major deficits of both at 2 months and major recovery of both at 12 months after a shocking event. It can serve as an example for possible stress-related deteriorations in certain brain regions, which can be partly corrected by psychotherapeutic interventions, passing time, and favorable environmental conditions.