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Previous research has shown relatively diminished medial prefrontal cortex activation and heightened psychophysiological responses during the recollection of personal events in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the origin of these abnormalities is unknown. Twin studies provide the opportunity to determine whether such abnormalities reflect familial vulnerabilities, result from trauma exposure, or are acquired characteristics of PTSD.
In this case–control twin study, 26 male identical twin pairs (12 PTSD; 14 non-PTSD) discordant for PTSD and combat exposure recalled and imagined trauma-unrelated stressful and neutral life events using a standard script-driven imagery paradigm during functional magnetic resonance imaging and concurrent skin conductance measurement.
Diminished activation in the medial prefrontal cortex during Stressful v. Neutral script-driven imagery was observed in the individuals with PTSD, relative to other groups.
Diminished medial prefrontal cortex activation during Stressful v. Neutral script-driven imagery may be an acquired characteristic of PTSD. If replicated, this finding could be used prospectively to inform diagnosis and the assessment of treatment response.
The French explorer, author and legislator Gabriel Bonvalot (1853–1933) travelled widely in Central Asia in the 1880s. This two-volume English translation by C. B. Pitman of the 1889–90 French original was published in 1891. It describes Bonvalot's expedition across Europe and Asia to French Indochina. Accompanied by Prince Henri d'Orléans whose father, the Duc of Chartres, financed the expedition, Bonvalot left Paris in July 1889. In Volume 1, the expedition crosses first Russia and then Siberia, making its way south to Tibet. The obstacles encountered are considerable, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees below zero (Bonvalot describes how the fat that the expedition eats for butter is so hard that it may be 'used as a projectile') and altitude sickness affecting many of the party. The volume ends as the party enters Tibet, but without being certain exactly where they are.