Attention and regional cerebral blood flow in posttraumatic stress disorder patients with substance abuse histories

Psychiatry Res. 1996 May 31;67(1):17-28. doi: 10.1016/0925-4927(96)02735-7.


Performance on an attentional task was assessed in posttraumatic stress disorder patients with substance abuse histories (PTSD-SA). Positron emission tomography (PET) was used to measure concurrent regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF). Eight male PTSD-SA patients and eight normal subjects each received three serial PET scans with 15O-labeled water under the following conditions: (1) resting, (2) auditory continuous performance task (ACPT1), and (3) repeat auditory task (ACPT2). PTSD-SA patients made more errors of commission on the ACPT than normal subjects. Examination of right frontal and parietal cortex ACPT task substrates revealed decreased parietal blood flow in PTSD-SA, which may represent a pathophysiology for poor attentional task performance in PTSD-SA. Attentional problems may underlie other symptomatology in PTSD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parietal Lobe / blood supply*
  • Parietal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / blood supply*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Regional Blood Flow*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed