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Traumatic Stress Induces Brain Change in Children

Traumatic Stress Induces Brain Change in Children

STANFORD, Calif., March 5 -- Children with post-traumatic stress disorder, similar to adults, show physical changes in the brain, according to researchers here.

In a pilot study of 15 children, higher PTSD scores and higher cortisol levels were significantly (P<0.05) correlated with relative decreases over time in the volume of the right hippocampus, reported Victor Carrion, M.D., of Stanford, and colleagues, reported in the March issue of Pediatrics.

On the other hand, there was no correlation with changes in the left hippocampal volume, Dr. Carrion and colleagues found.

In adults, PTSD is associated with lower hippocampal volumes compared with adults who do not have stress disorder, Dr. Carrion and colleagues noted, but such a relation hasn't been shown in children.

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