Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 53–61 | Cite as

Update on Neuroimaging and Cognitive Functioning in Maltreatment-Related Pediatric PTSD: Treatment Implications

  • Victor G. Carrion
  • Shane S. Wong
  • Hilit Kletter


This article reviews maltreatment-related pediatric posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) neuroimaging and neuropsychology research. Existent interventions that target brain networks associated with PTSD and cognitive impairment are highlighted. Furthermore, the benefits of combining neuroimaging and neuropsychology research in treatment outcomes are discussed. To conduct this review, a literature search was done utilizing the words MRI, structural, functional, neuropsychological testing, children, maltreatment, treatment, and PTSD. This was supplemented with a direct search of developmental trauma experts. Results from the neuroimaging studies found differences in the total cerebral volume, prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum, superior temporal gyrus, corpus callosum, and other regions in maltreatment-related childhood PTSD. Neuropsychological findings demonstrate deficits in memory, attention, learning, and executive function that correspond to these brain regions. Existent and novel psychotherapeutic interventions address these deficits. These interventions may be directed at key networks associated with cognitive processing. Future directions include the implementation of treatment outcome research integrating psychotherapy with putative biological and psychological markers.


Pediatric PTSD Child maltreatment Magnetic resonance imaging Neuropsychological testing Interventions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor G. Carrion
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shane S. Wong
    • 2
  • Hilit Kletter
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Child DevelopmentStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Stanford Early Life Stress Research Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA

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