Cerebral Blood Flow in Clinical Patients With or Without Histories of Sexual Abuse Using SPECT Imaging
The present study examined the neurological correlates of sexual abuse using single photon computed emission tomography (SPECT). Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) of 200 adult clinical patients was examined during resting (baseline) and active (concentration) states. Previous studies demonstrated a significant association between a history of sexual abuse and reduced volumes in various brain regions. Therefore, it was hypothesized that patients with a history of sexual abuse (PSA) would show significantly lower rCBF in the hippocampal formation, amygdala, visual cortex, and anterior cingulate gyrus during baseline, concentration, and activation (i.e., difference in rCBF from baseline to concentration) conditions compared to patients without a history of sexual abuse (PWSA). Also, PSA were expected to show significantly lower global blood flow compared to PWSA during baseline, concentration, and activation conditions. During the baseline condition, PSA showed significantly greater rCBF in the amygdala, hippocampus, anterior cingulate, and calcarine fissure compared to PWSA. During the concentration condition, PSA showed significantly greater rCBF in the amygdala and hippocampus compared to PWSA. During activation, there were no significant differences in rCBF in PSA and PWSA. When assessing global rCBF across the brain, PSA showed significantly greater blood flow during the baseline condition; however, there were no significant differences in global blood flow in PSA and PWSA during the concentration and activation conditions. The results of the study are compared with the findings of neuroimaging studies on PTSD and phobias. Clinical implications and limitations are discussed.
Sex crimes, Sexual abuse victims, Single-photon emission computed tomography
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