Linking Recognition Performance in Participants with Greater PTSD Symptom Severity & Ineffective Encoding Reflected in Altered Modulation of Beta Band Oscillatory Activity

Research Paper Title

Altered Modulation of Beta Band Oscillations During Memory Encoding Is Predictive of Lower Subsequent Recognition Performance in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Background

The researchers studied the relationship between electrophysiological markers of memory encoding, subsequent recognition performance, and severity of PTSD symptoms in service members with combat exposure (n = 40, age: 41.2 ± 7.2 years) and various levels of PTSD symptom severity assessed using the PTSD Check List for DSM V version (PCL-5).

Methods

Brain activity was recorded using magnetoencephalography during a serial presentation of 86 images of outdoor scenes that were studied by participants for an upcoming recognition test.

In a second session, the original images were shown intermixed with an equal number of novel images while participants performed the recognition task.

Results

Participants recognised 76.0% ± 12.1% of the original images and correctly categorised as novel 89.9% ± 7.0% of the novel images.

A negative correlation was present between PCL-5 scores and discrimination performance (Spearman rs = -0.38, p = 0.016). PCL-5 scores were also negatively correlated with the recognition accuracy for original images (rs = -0.37, p = 0.02).

Increases in theta and gamma power and decreases in alpha and beta power were observed over distributed brain networks during memory encoding.

Higher PCL-5 scores were associated with less suppression of beta band power in bilateral ventral and medial temporal regions and in the left orbitofrontal cortex.

These regions also showed positive correlations between the magnitude of suppression of beta power during encoding and subsequent recognition accuracy.

Conclusions

These findings indicate that the lower recognition performance in participants with greater PTSD symptom severity may be due in part to ineffective encoding reflected in altered modulation of beta band oscillatory activity.

Reference

Popescu, M., Popescu, E-A., DeGraba, T.J. & Hughes, J.D. (2020) Altered Modulation of Beta Band Oscillations During Memory Encoding Is Predictive of Lower Subsequent Recognition Performance in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. NeuroImage. Clinical. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.102154. Epub 2019 Dec 27.

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