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Dissociative part-dependent resting-state activity in dissociative identity disorder: a controlled fMRI perfusion study


Schlumpf, Yolanda R; Reinders, Antje A T S; Nijenhuis, Ellert R S; Luechinger, Roger; van Osch, Matthias J P; Jäncke, Lutz (2014). Dissociative part-dependent resting-state activity in dissociative identity disorder: a controlled fMRI perfusion study. PLoS ONE, 9(6):e98795.

Abstract

Background
In accordance with the Theory of Structural Dissociation of the Personality (TSDP), studies of dissociative identity disorder (DID) have documented that two prototypical dissociative subsystems of the personality, the “Emotional Part” (EP) and the “Apparently Normal Part” (ANP), have different biopsychosocial reactions to supraliminal and subliminal trauma-related cues and that these reactions cannot be mimicked by fantasy prone healthy controls nor by actors.

Methods
Arterial spin labeling perfusion MRI was used to test the hypotheses that ANP and EP in DID have different perfusion patterns in response to rest instructions, and that perfusion is different in actors who were instructed to simulate ANP and EP. In a follow-up study, regional cerebral blood flow of DID patients was compared with the activation pattern of healthy non-simulating controls.

Results
Compared to EP, ANP showed elevated perfusion in bilateral thalamus. Compared to ANP, EP had increased perfusion in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, primary somatosensory cortex, and motor-related areas. Perfusion patterns for simulated ANP and EP were different. Fitting their reported role-play strategies, the actors activated brain structures involved in visual mental imagery and empathizing feelings. The follow-up study demonstrated elevated perfusion in the left temporal lobe in DID patients, whereas non-simulating healthy controls had increased activity in areas which mediate the mental construction of past and future episodic events.

Conclusion
DID involves dissociative part-dependent resting-state differences. Compared to ANP, EP activated brain structures involved in self-referencing and sensorimotor actions more. Actors had different perfusion patterns compared to genuine ANP and EP. Comparisons of neural activity for individuals with DID and non-DID simulating controls suggest that the resting-state features of ANP and EP in DID are not due to imagination. The findings are consistent with TSDP and inconsistent with the idea that DID is caused by suggestion, fantasy proneness, and role-playing.

Abstract

Background
In accordance with the Theory of Structural Dissociation of the Personality (TSDP), studies of dissociative identity disorder (DID) have documented that two prototypical dissociative subsystems of the personality, the “Emotional Part” (EP) and the “Apparently Normal Part” (ANP), have different biopsychosocial reactions to supraliminal and subliminal trauma-related cues and that these reactions cannot be mimicked by fantasy prone healthy controls nor by actors.

Methods
Arterial spin labeling perfusion MRI was used to test the hypotheses that ANP and EP in DID have different perfusion patterns in response to rest instructions, and that perfusion is different in actors who were instructed to simulate ANP and EP. In a follow-up study, regional cerebral blood flow of DID patients was compared with the activation pattern of healthy non-simulating controls.

Results
Compared to EP, ANP showed elevated perfusion in bilateral thalamus. Compared to ANP, EP had increased perfusion in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, primary somatosensory cortex, and motor-related areas. Perfusion patterns for simulated ANP and EP were different. Fitting their reported role-play strategies, the actors activated brain structures involved in visual mental imagery and empathizing feelings. The follow-up study demonstrated elevated perfusion in the left temporal lobe in DID patients, whereas non-simulating healthy controls had increased activity in areas which mediate the mental construction of past and future episodic events.

Conclusion
DID involves dissociative part-dependent resting-state differences. Compared to ANP, EP activated brain structures involved in self-referencing and sensorimotor actions more. Actors had different perfusion patterns compared to genuine ANP and EP. Comparisons of neural activity for individuals with DID and non-DID simulating controls suggest that the resting-state features of ANP and EP in DID are not due to imagination. The findings are consistent with TSDP and inconsistent with the idea that DID is caused by suggestion, fantasy proneness, and role-playing.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:16 Sep 2014 14:41
Last Modified:23 Jun 2016 14:51
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0098795

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