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Anhedonia is a common symptom following traumatic brain injury. The neural basis of anhedonia is poorly understood, but believed to involve disturbed reward processing, rather than the loss of sense of pleasure. This analysis was undertaken to determine if injury to specific regions of prefrontal cortex (PFC) result in anhedonia. A CT-based lesion analysis was undertaken in 192 participants of the Vietnam Head Injury Study, most with penetrating head injury. Participants were divided into left and right ventrolateral prefrontal, bilateral ventromedial prefrontal, and other injury locations. Anhedonia was measured by self-report in each group using the four-item anhedonia subscale score of the Beck Depression Inventory-II. Individuals with right ventrolateral injury reported greater severity of anhedonia compared to those with injury in the left ventrolateral region. These findings support an association between injury in the right ventrolateral PFC and anhedonia.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Imaging Behav

Publication Date





456 - 460


Anhedonia, Depression, Motivational anhedonia, Reward, Traumatic brain injury, Ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, Anhedonia, Cohort Studies, Depressive Disorder, Major, Follow-Up Studies, Head Injuries, Penetrating, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prefrontal Cortex, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Psychotic Disorders, Severity of Illness Index, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Veterans, Vietnam Conflict