Potential Neurocognitive Biomarkers for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Severity in Recent Trauma Survivors Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Contemporary symptom-based diagnosis of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) largely overlooks related neurobehavioral findings and rely entirely on subjective interpersonal reporting. Previous studies associating objective biomarkers with PTSD have mostly used the disorder’s symptom-based diagnosis as main outcome measure, overlooking the actual clustering and richness of phenotypical features associated with PTSD. Here, we aimed to computationally derive potential neurocognitive biomarkers that could efficiently differentiate PTSD subtypes, based on an observational cohort study of recent trauma survivors. A three-staged semi-unsupervised method (“3C”) was used to categorize trauma survivors based on current PTSD diagnostics, derive clusters of PTSD based on features related to symptom load, and to classify participants’ cluster membership using objective features. A total of 256 features were extracted from psychometrics, cognitive, structural and functional neuroimaging data, obtained from 101 adult civilians (age=34.80±11.95, 51 females) evaluated within a month of trauma exposure. Multi-domain features that best differentiated cluster membership were indicated by using importance analysis, classification trees, and ANOVA. Results revealed that entorhinal and rostral anterior cingulate cortices volumes (structural domain), in-task amygdala’s functional connectivity with the insula and thalamus (functional domain), executive function and cognitive flexibility (cognitive domain) best differentiated between two clusters related to PTSD severity. Cross-validation established the results’ robustness and consistency within this sample. Multi-domain biomarkers revealed by the 3C analytics offer objective classifiers of post-traumatic morbidity shortly following trauma. They also map onto previously documented neurobehavioral PTSD features, supporting the future use of standardized and objective measurements to more precisely identify psychopathology subgroups shortly after trauma.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ben-Zion, Z., Zeevi, Y., Keynan, N. J., Admon, R., Kozlovski, T., Sharon, H., ... Hendler, T.

publication date

  • January 1, 2019 11:11 AM