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Event-related potentials to auditory stimuli in female Vietnam nurse veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder

  • LINDA J. METZGER (a1) (a2), MARGARET A. CARSON (a1) (a3), LYNN A. PAULUS (a1), NATASHA B. LASKO (a1) (a2), STEPHEN R. PAIGE (a4), ROGER K. PITMAN (a1) (a2) and SCOTT P. ORR (a1) (a2)...


Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been found to show several event-related brain potential (ERP) abnormalities including reduced target P3b amplitude, P50 suppression, and P2 amplitude/intensity slope. Female Vietnam nurse veterans with (n = 29) and without (n = 38) current PTSD completed P50 paired-click, three-tone “oddball” and four-tone stimulus-intensity modulation procedures. Opposite to previous findings, the current PTSD group had larger target P3b amplitudes and increased P2 amplitude/intensity slopes. Reduced P50 suppression was associated with increased severity of general psychopathology, but not with PTSD diagnosis. Findings suggest that target P3b amplitude and P2 amplitude/intensity slope abnormalities reflect different pathophysiological processes. Future research is needed to determine whether the opposite ERP abnormalities observed in this PTSD sample reflect gender-, trauma-, or sample-specific findings.


Corresponding author

Address reprint requests to: Linda J. Metzger, VA Research Service and Harvard Medical School Psychophysiology Laboratory, 228 Maple St., 2nd floor, Manchester, NH 03103, USA. E-mail:



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