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Predicting post-traumatic stress disorder before it happens
Date:6/13/2012

Most people have intense emotional reactions to traumatizing events like road accidents or combat. But some suffer far longer, caught in the grip of long-term debilitating disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Because doctors cannot predict who will develop these disorders, however, early or preventive intervention is not available. Now, a new project led by researchers at Tel Aviv University seeks to identify pre-traumatic subjects those who are more susceptible to long-standing disorders if exposed to a traumatic incident.

The project, a joint work between Prof. Talma Hendler of TAU's School of Psychological Sciences, the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the new Sagol School of Neuroscience, and Prof. Nathan Intrator of TAU's Blavatnik School of Computer Science and the Sagol School of Neuroscience, uses electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the areas of the brain that regulate the emotional response to traumatic stress, then decode the brain functionality which indicates pre- or post trauma psychopathology.It's a powerful and novel approach to probing the susceptible brain and providing ongoing monitoring tailored to each individual.

This ongoing interdisciplinary research was done at the Functional Brain Center in collaboration with the Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

Taking PTSD personally

The earlier and more accurately PTSD is diagnosed, the more likely a healthcare provider can treat it. And beyond their diagnostic capabilities, the research findings could be used to monitor people who will be at high risk for developing these disorders, such as soldiers in combat units.

Diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders depends on understanding how the brain encodes and regulates emotions. For example, certain combinations of activities in emotional and cognitive brain areas may better
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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