Neural Oscillations While Remembering Traumatic Memories in Ptsd

Inbal Reuveni, Noa Herz, Omer Bonne, Tuvia Peri, Shaul Schreiber, Yuval Harpaz, Abraham Goldstein

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


Background: In posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the traumatic event is often re-experienced through vivid sensory fragments of the traumatic experience. Though the sensory phenomenology of traumatic memories is well established, neural indications for this qualitative experience are lacking. The current study aimed at monitoring the oscillatory brain activity of PTSD patients during directed and imaginal exposure to the traumatic memory using magnetoencephalography (MEG), in a paradigm resembling exposure therapy. Methods: Brain activity of healthy trauma-exposed controls and PTSD participants was measured with MEG as they listened to individualized trauma narratives as well as to a neutral narrative and as they imagined the narrative in detail. Source localization analysis on varied frequency bands was conducted in order to map neural generators of altered oscillatory activity. Results: PTSD patients exhibited increased power of high-frequency bands over visual areas and increased delta and theta power over auditory areas in response to trauma recollection compared to neutral recollection, while controls did not show such differential activation. PTSD participants also showed abnormal modulation of lower frequencies in the medial prefrontal cortex. Conclusions: Elicitation of traumatic memories results in a distinct neural pattern in PTSD patients compared to healthy trauma-exposed individuals. Investigating the oscillatory neural dynamics of PTSD patients can help us better understand the processes underlying trauma re-experiencing.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCold Spring Harbor
PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright - © 2019. This article is published under (“the License”). Notwithstanding the ProQuest Terms and Conditions, you may use this content in accordance with the terms of the License.

Last updated - 2020-04-29


  • Biology
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Cortex (somatosensory)
  • Memory
  • Cortex (auditory)
  • Oscillations
  • Localization
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Trauma
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Visual cortex


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