Navigation Links
Battlefield psychologists investigate stress in combat and after

Psychologists aren't usually called to the battlefield, but the 2008-09 Gaza War gave Tel Aviv University researchers a unique picture of how anxiety manifests during stressful situations.

In a new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Prof. Yair Bar Haim of TAU's Department of Psychology reports that people confronted with acute stress -- daily rocket attacks -- tend to dissociate from threats instead of becoming more vigilant. This research overturns accepted convention and may lead to better understanding of the mechanisms underlying acute stress reactions, he says.

Though conducted on the battlefields of the Middle East, Prof. Bar Haim's research has immediate repercussions for U.S. soldiers as well. "The American government is dealing with large numbers of soldiers coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq suffering from PTSD," he says. "Our study is important because it's the first to show the effects of war-related acute stress in real time." It also has significant implications for the understanding of other known PTSD triggers, such as rape or motor vehicle accidents.

A real-time picture of stress

Using fMRI and other imaging techniques, Prof. Bar Haim investigated neural mechanisms related to anxiety disorders and how people respond cognitively to stress. He also studied how people process threats when they are under severe stress. His previous studies, both at Tel Aviv University and through the U.S. National Institutes of Health, looked at neural, genetic and molecular factors related to threat processing in the brain, and these gave Prof. Bar Haim and his team a context to infer what happens in the brain when behavioral data on acute stress situations is collected.

In the most recent study, he looked at Israelis close to the firing zone, near the border with Gaza, where they had been living with the daily stress of rocket threats for eight years. The threat became more severe during the war. While his test subjects completed various computer tasks to test behavior, Dr. Bar Haim monitored processes at the deeper, unseen levels of the brain.

He found that subjects under acute stress developed symptoms of post-trauma and most often manifested a dissociative state rather than one of hypervigilance. Most important for clinical applications, the researchers found that the symptoms produce a measurable effect a neuromarker -- that may be used to predict who are the individuals most at risk for developing chronic PTSD following a traumatic event.

Less vigilant to personal threats

Prof. Bar Haim says this is the first study in the scientific literature to describe real-time effects of war-related stress on its victims. In the previous literature, scientists assumed that people under stress would become more vigilant to threats, rather than disengaging. "This calls for some revision of the foundations of the stress-PTSD model," he says.

Prof. Bar Haim is now conducting a study involving Israeli soldiers that investigates the potential use of computer-based tasks to modify and retrain the attention system of the afflicted patient. Called "Attention Bias Modification Treatment," the approach has been successfully applied in several clinical trials both in the U.S. and in Israel. Soon it will be tested in IDF veterans with PTSD.

Prof. Bar Haim emphasizes that the treatment of anxiety-related disorders is not an easy task. But he hopes that his work in the field, coupled with imaging technologies and computer software, will lead to more effective ways of treating victims of anxiety and PTSD so they can lead normal and healthy lives.


Contact: George Hunka
American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Related medicine news :

1. Battlefield camaraderie yields long-term dividends for veterans, study finds
2. Tastier MRE: Chemistry gives battlefield chow a gourmet flare
3. Offers A Free Therapist Listing For Credentialed Counselors and Psychologists
4. Psychologists Say New Jerseys Largest Health Plan Violates Patient Privacy, Restricts Access to Care and Wastes Taxpayer Money
5. Long Island Press Investigates Big Tobacco's Lobby to Kill Indian Cigarette Trade
6. Food Safety Law Firm Investigates Major Outbreak of E. coli Linked To Lettuce
7. President Obama Must Investigate Reports of Detainee Abuse at Bagram Air Base
8. Researchers get $3.3 million grant to investigate language outcomes of bilingual children
9. Subtyping breast cancer by immunohistochemistry to investigate survival terms
10. Cadmium investigated as cause of endometrial cancer
11. Early life stress may predict cardiovascular disease
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Battlefield psychologists investigate stress in combat and after
(Date:6/25/2016)... Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... to fit their specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. ... fully customizable and all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for ... is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... A ... procedures that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that ... but also many of these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out ... family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers ... would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda Cheng, an ... Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including robotic Suresmile technology, ... , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. It can be ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Issue 52" report to their offering. ... treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. ... base that will serve to drive considerable growth for effective ... serve to cap sales considerably, but development is still in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 , , , WHEN: ... 2016 , , , , LOCATION: , , , Online, ... , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s Global ... Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program Manager ... pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand spaces, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in Bogota. Colombia ... ... Sandra ... ... Astellas is a pharmaceutical company ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: