Traumatic Events Impact Brains of People Who Don't Develop PTSD

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Traumatic may impact the brain functioning of people, even if they do not go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Morten Kringelbach, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and colleagues, initially scoured literature looking for studies involving brain activity in those diagnosis of PTSd. More than 2000 records were found. They then separated studies by control group: trauma-exposed (those who had experienced trauma but did not have a diagnosis of PTSD) and trauma-naïve (those who had not experienced trauma), and compared the individuals with PTSD to both groups.

Trauma may cause distinct and long-lasting effects even in people who do not develop PTSD. It is already known that stress affects brain function and may lead to PTSD, but until now the underlying brain networks have proven elusive.

There were differences between the brain activity of individuals with PTSD and that of the groups of both trauma-exposed and trauma-naïve participants, the researchers reported in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews.

The findings suggest that even without symptoms, trauma can impact brain function. The researchers also discovered that in parts of a brain region known as the basal ganglia, brain activity was different in the PTSD, trauma-exposed and trauma-naïve groups.

Traumatic Events Impact Brains of People Who Don't Develop PTSD
Trauma may cause distinct and long-lasting effects even in people who do not develop PTSD.

Trauma may cause distinct and long-lasting effects even in people who do not develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), according to research by scientists working at the University of Oxford's Department of Psychiatry. It is already known that stress affects brain function and may lead to PTSD, but until now the underlying brain networks have proven elusive.

The research team's initial survey of the scientific literature for all the published studies reporting brain activity in individuals with a diagnosis of PTSD yielded over 2000 records. This number was then reduced using stringent criteria to ensure the highest possible data quality for processing with meta-analytic tools.

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