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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 691505, 11 pages
Research Article

Reduced Amygdala Volume Is Associated with Deficits in Inhibitory Control: A Voxel- and Surface-Based Morphometric Analysis of Comorbid PTSD/Mild TBI

1Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
2Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
3VISN 19 Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, Denver, CO 80220, USA
4University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

Received 4 November 2013; Accepted 11 January 2014; Published 3 March 2014

Academic Editor: John A. Sweeney

Copyright © 2014 B. E. Depue et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A significant portion of previously deployed combat Veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) are affected by comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Despite this fact, neuroimaging studies investigating the neural correlates of cognitive dysfunction within this population are almost nonexistent, with the exception of research examining the neural correlates of diagnostic PTSD or TBI. The current study used both voxel-based and surface-based morphometry to determine whether comorbid PTSD/mTBI is characterized by altered brain structure in the same regions as observed in singular diagnostic PTSD or TBI. Furthermore, we assessed whether alterations in brain structures in these regions were associated with behavioral measures related to inhibitory control, as assessed by the Go/No-go task, self-reports of impulsivity, and/or PTSD or mTBI symptoms. Results indicate volumetric reductions in the bilateral anterior amygdala in our comorbid PTSD/mTBI sample as compared to a control sample of OEF/OIF Veterans with no history of mTBI and/or PTSD. Moreover, increased volume reduction in the amygdala predicted poorer inhibitory control as measured by performance on the Go/No-go task, increased self-reported impulsivity, and greater symptoms associated with PTSD. These findings suggest that alterations in brain anatomy in OEF/OIF/OND Veterans with comorbid PTSD/mTBI are associated with both cognitive deficits and trauma symptoms related to PTSD.