Columbia University Medical Center
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NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell

Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Brain Imaging for Patients with PTSD

Please refer to this study by identifier 6153

Principal Investigator(s)

Yuval Neria


PTSD is a common anxiety disorder that follows exposure to an overwhelming traumatic event. People diagnosed with PTSD tend to experience severe difficulties in emotional, social, and work functioning. The most effective psychotherapy for PTSD is Prolonged Exposure treatment. Yet, the question why some patients who receive Prolonged Exposure treatment will recover from PTSD while other patients will not remained unanswered. Our study will seek to answer this question by investigating brain circuitry involved in PTSD and in response to Prolonged Exposure treatment. Patients with PTSD and trauma exposed people who didn�t develop PTSD, and are interested in participation in the study, will be assessed by functional MRI and Skin Conductance Response (CSR) to determine the neural activation to an extinction learning task. All PTSD patients and half of the trauma exposed individuals will repeat these procedures 10 weeks later, after PTSD patients have completed 10 weeks of intensive Prolonged Exposure treatment. Three months after treatment completion clinical ratings of PTSD severity will be conducted.

  • Type of Study: Clinical Trial
  • Setting of Study: outpatient
  • Clinical number: 
  • Providing Clinical Treatment?: Yes
  • No Cost Treatment?: Yes
  • Care is provided in languages: English

Study Activities

  • Filling Out Forms
  • MRI Scan
  • Psychophysiology measurements
  • Provides Payment: Reimbursement for transportation
  • Provides Payment: Compensation for study related procedures


  • Ages Eligible for Study: 18 Years - 60 Years
  • Genders Eligible for Study: Both
  • This study is recruiting Healthy Volunteers.


  • Inclusion Criteria:
    Method of Ascertainment:
    1. Males or females between the ages of 18 and 60
    2. Current DSM-IV PTSD
    3. CAPS score equal or greater than 50.
    4. Able to give consent, fluent in English or Spanish.
  • Links
    Trauma and PTSD Program at Columbia University and NYSPI
  • Location: 
  • Clinic: Anxiety Disorder Clinic
  • Division: Therapeutics
  • Study chairs or principal investigators: Yuval Y Neria PhD, Principal Investigator
  • Co-investigators: Gregory Sullivan, Franklin Schneier, John Markowitz, Roberto Lewis Fernadez, Mark Olfson

For more information, please contact

Maria Josefa Malaga

Tel: 212-543-5520


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