Involvement of the cerebellum in EMDR efficiency: a metabolic connectivity PET study in PTSD European Journal of Psychotraumatology

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

A. Verger, P. F. Rousseau , E. Malbos , M. B. Chawki , F. Nicolas , C. Lançon , S. Khalfa & E. Guedj


Background: We recently reported an improvement of the precuneus PET metabolism after EMDR therapy in military participants suffering from PTSD (10.1007/s00259-019-04360-1).

Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate the metabolic changes in precuneus connectivity in these participants after such treatment.

Methods: Fifteen participants with PTSD underwent brain 18F-FDG-PET sensitized by virtual reality exposure to war scenes before and after EMDR treatment. Inter-regional correlation analysis was performed to study metabolic changes in precuneus connectivity through SPM-T maps at the whole-brain level (p<0.005 for the voxel, p<0.05 for the cluster).

Results: A decrease in connectivity was observed after EMDR therapy between the precuneus and two significant bilateral clusters of the cerebellum (Tmax voxels of 5.8 and 5.3 and cluster sizes of 343 and 314 voxels, respectively). Moreover, higher cerebellar metabolism before treatment was associated with reduced clinical PTSD scores after EMDR (rho = 0.67, p=0.03).

Conclusion: The cerebellum and its metabolic connectivity with the precuneus are involved in the clinical efficiency of EMDR in PTSD.

Keywords: PTSD; EMDR; PET; connectivity; cerebellum

Received 18 Dec 2019, Accepted 04 May 2020, Published online: 29 Jun 2020

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