Brain Structures in Pediatric Maltreatment Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An MRI Prospective Study with Children and Adolescents Exposed to Multiple Violence
Childhood maltreatment, which includes emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect (including witnessing domestic violence), is a global problem with several consequences, including pediatric posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study goal was to investigate the structural alterations, through a prospective study, in PTSD/PTSS patients when compared with controls subjects (children exposed to violence but no disorder. A total of 29 children exposed to violence from 7-13 years were evaluated and matched with a healthy control group (n=9). No significant structural changes were observed in the PTSS,PTSD and exposed controls subjects at the baseline and neither when those groups were compared to the healthy control group (non-exposed children) after an one-year follow up. These data suggest that the non-statistical significant results in brain measures could be relate to small sample size and the chronicity of maltreatment and PTSD/PTSS. More longitudinal MRI brain research is warrant to clarify how structural changes affect brain anatomy.