Navigation Links
Severe PTSD Damages Children's Brains: Study

Severe stress can damage a child's brain, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard //Children's Hospital. The researchers found that children with post-traumatic stress disorder and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol were likely to experience a decrease in the size of the hippocampus - a brain structure important in memory processing and emotion.

Although similar effects have been seen in animal studies, this is the first time the findings have been replicated in children. The researchers focused on kids in extreme situations to better understand how stress affects brain development.

"We're not talking about the stress of doing your homework or fighting with your dad," said Packard Children's child psychiatrist Victor Carrion, MD. "We're talking about traumatic stress. These kids feel like they're stuck in the middle of a street with a truck barreling down at them."

Carrion, assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the medical school and director of Stanford's early life stress research program, and his collaborators speculate that cognitive deficits arising from stress hormones interfere with psychiatric therapy and prolong symptoms.

The children in the study were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as a result of undergoing physical, emotional or sexual abuse, witnessing violence or experiencing lasting separation and loss. This type of developmental trauma often impairs the child's ability to reach social, emotional and academic milestones.

"We'd really like to understand why some children are more resilient than others, and what the long-term effects of extreme stress are," said Carrion, who is the first author of the research, to be published in the March issue of Pediatrics. "We know, for example, that these children are at higher risk of developing depression and/or anxiety as adults."

One theory posits t hat everyone carries an ongoing stress burden that accumulates throughout life. Once a certain threshold is reached, either through one or two very traumatic events or through chronic, high levels of stress, adults and children can begin to exhibit PTSD symptoms such as re-experience (including flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or nightmares), avoidance and emotional numbing, and physiological hyperarousal (such as an elevated resting heart rate). These behavioral symptoms make PTSD difficult to differentiate from other conditions such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Children predisposed by genetics or environment to be more anxious than their peers are also more likely to develop PTSD in response to emotional trauma, perhaps because their responses to other life experiences simply left them closer to that threshold than less-anxious children.

The researchers studied 15 children from ages 7 to 13 suffering from PTSD. They measured the volume of the hippocampus at the beginning and end of the 12- to 18-month study period. After correcting for gender and for physiological maturity, they found that kids with more severe PTSD symptoms and higher bedtime cortisol levels (another marker of stress) at the start of the study were more likely to have reductions in their hippocampal volumes at the end of the study than their less-affected, but still traumatized peers.

It is significant that the change in the hippocampal volume corresponds to both PTSD symptom severity and increased cortisol levels. Cortisol belongs to a class of human hormones known as glucocorticoids that have been shown to kill hippocampal cells in animals. In a vicious cycle, a reduction in hippocampal size can make it more difficult for a child to process and deal with traumatic events, which in turn may raise both stress and cortisol levels that cause even more damage.

"Although everyday levels of stress are necessary to stimulate normal brain dev elopment, excess levels can be harmful," said Carrion, likening the biological effects of increasing amounts of stress to an inverted U. "One common treatment for PTSD is to help a sufferer develop a narrative of the traumatic experience. But if the stress of the event is affecting areas of the brain responsible for processing information and incorporating it into a story, that treatment may not be as effective."

Carrion and his colleagues are now using an imaging technique known as functional MRI to visualize whether and how the children's brains differ when performing emotional and cognitive tasks.

"What we have now is basically a snapshot," said Carrion. "We can't yet say much about function. But we know that PTSD is chronic and pervasive. Hopefully with further research we can develop more effective, targeted interventions to help these kids."

Source-Newswise
'"/>




Related medicine news :

1. Low Cholesterol Linked to Severe Depression and Violent Behavior in Men
2. Severe stress weakens immunity
3. Severe Acute respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
4. WHO Travel Advice to prevent spread of "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
5. Patients With Severe Hemophilia At Risk Of Developing Osteoporosis
6. Severe sleep apnea can cause liver problems
7. Scientists Unveil Mechanism Behind Resistance to Severe Malaria
8. Strong Magnetic Stimulation Can Help Treating Severe Depression
9. Patients Suffering From Severe Mental Diseases Are At Risk Of Being Crime Victims
10. Acute Toxicity Of Nano-Scale Zinc Powder: Severe Renal Damage And Anemia
11. Poor Glycaemic Control In Hispanics With Diabetes Causes Severe Depression
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:7/24/2017)... ... , ... “Journey to the Light: The Quest for Happiness and Love. . ... to finding herself. “Journey to the Light: The Quest for Happiness and Love. ... writer of newsletters, manuals, and articles, who has recently decided to expand her literary ...
(Date:7/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... July 23, 2017 , ... A ... in St. Louis, and led by the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Health Care System overwhelmingly ... of the disease offers very few benefits. , In the cases involved with ...
(Date:7/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... Technology is making it easier for ... tools are helping patients become more actively involved in their care and maintaining ... survey, released today by the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Health Forum. , According ...
(Date:7/23/2017)... ... July 23, 2017 , ... Viora Ltd., a ... US Patent No. 9,038,640 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The ... combination of Switching, Vacuum, and Cooling mechanisms to further increase the efficacy and ...
(Date:7/21/2017)... ... July 21, 2017 , ... "As a doctor of lung medicine ... catheters available on the market," said an inventor from Center Valley, Pa. "My idea ... the patient." , He developed the patent-pending PLEURAL SAFE-t-STAT CATHETER KIT to offer an ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/11/2017)... 11, 2017  The global market for liquid biopsy ... $394.1 million in 2016.  Although in early stages, the ... in particular as a result of the gradual shift ... recent introduction of a significant number of new liquid ... of tumor biomarkers to guide treatment decisions. ...
(Date:7/10/2017)... , July 10, 2017 The Institute for ... methods, is the recipient of a VITROCELL® inhalation exposure ... International Science Consortium. The device, which is designed to ... expose human lung cells to airborne test materials in ... use the VITROCELL® system for testing combustible tobacco products, ...
(Date:7/5/2017)... 5, 2017 Wolfmet 3D  printed tungsten collimator manufactured by ... and manufacturing combine to progress molecular radiotherapy imaging. ... are unable to accurately quantify the radiation absorbed by those ... the success of this radiotherapy treatment has been available — ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: