Trial Search Results

Brain Imaging of Psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The investigators are seeking people who have been exposed to a traumatic event in the past and have symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) currently. A person with PTSD may feel significant distress when reminded of a traumatic event or feel depressed, anxious or jumpy.

As a part of this study, participants will receive brain MRIs and office assessments before and after psychotherapy. The investigators provide the gold-standard psychotherapy for PTSD, "Prolonged Exposure", free of charge; additionally participants are compensated for their time during assessment procedures. This study is exploring the brain circuitry involved in improvement in response to psychotherapy.

Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.

Lead Sponsor:

Stanford University

Collaborator: National Institutes of Health (NIH)


  • Behavioral: Prolonged exposure




Inclusion Criteria:

   1. age between 18 and 60 years;

   2. fMRI scanning eligibility, including no evidence of any form of metal embedded in the
   body (e.g., metal wires, nuts, bolts, screws, plates, sutures), as these produce
   artifacts when brain imaging;

   3. not currently involved in an exposure-based psychotherapy, in order to be able to
   measure and interpret the effects of PE on PTSD;

   4. must comprehend English well and show non-impaired intellectual abilities to ensure
   adequate comprehension of the fMRI task instructions and PE treatment;

   5. no history of neurological or cardiovascular disorders, brain surgery,
   electroconvulsive or radiation treatment, brain hemorrhage or tumor, stroke, seizures
   or epilepsy, diabetes, hypo- or hyperthyroidism, head trauma with loss of
   consciousness greater than thirty minutes;

   6. no regular use of benzodiazepine, opiate, thyroid, anticonvulsant or antipsychotic
   medications. Patients on stable doses of antidepressant medications will be allowed.
   Patients for whom antidepressant dosing is being actively titrated will be required to
   be on a stable dose for 1 month prior to inclusion in the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

   - Any contraindication to being scanned in the 3T or 1.5T scanners at the Lucas Center
   or CNI such as having a pacemaker or implanted device that has not been cleared for
   scanning at the Lucas Center or CNI.

   - Participants will be excluded from the study if there is any lifetime evidence of
   psychosis, mania, hypomania, or bipolar disorders. Other axis I comorbidities will not
   be a cause for exclusion.

In addition, subjects will be excluded if they have a significant CNS neurological
condition such as stroke, seizure, tumor, hemorrhage, multiple sclerosis, etc.

Patients who have current substance dependence will be excluded from the study. A recent
diagnosis of substance abuse is allowable, however, as long as subjects have been abstinent
for greater than three months.

   - Subjects will be excluded if they are currently in an exposure-based psychotherapy for

Ages Eligible for Study

18 Years - 60 Years

Genders Eligible for Study


Not currently accepting new patients for this trial

Contact Information

Stanford University
School of Medicine
300 Pasteur Drive
Stanford, CA 94305
Kathy Peng, B.A.