European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 745–755 | Cite as

Neuroimaging in children, adolescents and young adults with psychological trauma

  • Mirjam A. W. Rinne-Albers
  • Nic J. A. van der Wee
  • Francien Lamers-Winkelman
  • Robert R. J. M. Vermeiren


Childhood psychological trauma is a strong predictor of psychopathology. Preclinical research points to the influence of this type of trauma on brain development. However, the effects of psychological trauma on the developing human brain are less known and a challenging question is whether the effects can be reversed or even prevented. The aim of this review is to give an overview of neuroimaging studies in traumatized juveniles and young adults up till 2012. Neuroimaging studies in children and adolescents with traumatic experiences were found to be scarce. Most studies were performed by a small number of research groups in the United States and examined structural abnormalities. The reduction in hippocampal volume reported in adults with PTSD could not be confirmed in juveniles. The most consistent finding in children and adolescents, who experienced psychological trauma are structural abnormalities of the corpus callosum. We could not identify any studies investigating treatment effects. Neuroimaging studies in traumatized children and adolescents clearly lag behind studies in traumatized adults as well as studies on ADHD and autism.


Neuroimaging Trauma Childhood Adolescence Review 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirjam A. W. Rinne-Albers
    • 1
  • Nic J. A. van der Wee
    • 2
  • Francien Lamers-Winkelman
    • 3
    • 4
  • Robert R. J. M. Vermeiren
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Academic Centre for Child and Adolescent PsychiatryCurium-LUMCOegstgeestThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Leiden Institute for Brain and CognitionLUMC, Leiden University Medical CenterLeidenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Faculty of Psychology and EducationVrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Kinder en Jeugd Traumacentrum (KJTC)HaarlemThe Netherlands

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