Purpose To analyze the altered brain regions and intrinsic brain activity patterns in trauma-exposed firefighters without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Materials and Methods Resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI) was performed for all subjects. Thirty-one firefighters over 40 years of age without PTSD (31 men; mean age, 49.8 ± 4.7 years) were included. Twenty-six non-traumatized healthy controls (HCs) (26 men; mean age, 65.3 ± 7.84 years) were also included. Voxel-based morphometry was performed to investigate focal differences in the brain anatomy. Seed-based functional connectivity analysis was performed to investigate differences in spontaneous brain characteristics. Results The mean z-scores of the Seoul Verbal Learning Test for immediate and delayed recall, Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT) score for animals, and COWAT phonemic fluency were significantly lower in the firefighter group than in the HCs, indicating decreased neurocognitive function. Compared to HCs, firefighters showed reduced gray matter volume in the left superior parietal gyrus and left inferior temporal gyrus. Further, in contrast to HCs, firefighters showed alterations in rsfMRI values in multiple regions, including the fusiform gyrus and cerebellum. Conclusion Structural and resting-state functional abnormalities in the brain may be useful imaging biomarkers for identifying alterations in trauma-exposed firefighters without PTSD.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Fire Fighting Safety & 119 Rescue Technology Research and Development Program funded by National Fire Agency (“MPSS-Firesafety-2015-80”).
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging