According to Science Daily, scientists are beginning to see how much stress may modify how people’s brains are wired. Neuroscientists hypothesize that altering the brain’s learning and survival system may impact how a person reacts to danger following trauma.
A second study discovered that PTSD patients might have difficulty distinguishing between safe, dangerous, and rewarding situations. This type of reasoning oversimplifies potential threats. The study’s findings might greatly enhance current medical practices.
Understanding how trauma survivors estimate risk is a developing area of research. We can infer possible problems with the mechanisms involved in emotion processing from their mental state, which is particularly vulnerable to trauma effects. Suarez-Jimenez began working on this problem as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Columbia University Irving Medical Center chemistry professor and Ph.D. candidate Yuval Neria.
Their findings, published in the journal Communications Biology, show that trauma alters the salience network, a portion of the brain critical for learning and survival (with and without psychopathologies, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety). Subjects were studied using functional form magnetic resonance imaging while they saw circles of varying sizes; one size of circle was correlated with a mild electric shock (or threat).
Researchers discovered multiple intriguing alterations in the resilient group exposed to stress, not just in the salience network. The executive control network, one of the brain’s primary networks, was shown to be active in the brains of trauma survivors who did not develop psychopathologies.
Xi Zhu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology at Columbia University, and Dr. Marta Suarez-Jimenez are the paper’s corresponding authors. “Knowing what to look for in the brain when someone has been exposed to trauma may tremendously enhance treatment,” he says. “In this scenario, we know where areas of the brain are changing and how some people could respond to those changes. This exhibits your fortitude and capacity to overcome challenges.”
The study, published in the journal Depression & Anxiety, discovered that people with PTSD are more likely to adjust their behavior in response to threats than the general population. According to Suarez-Jimenez, his co-authors, and senior author Neria, people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may do just as well in emotionally neutral tasks as those who have never been exposed to trauma.
Individuals with PTSD already struggled with this activity before we added the additional burden of processing the emotion caused by a threat, and their performance suffered considerably.
The researchers utilized the identical procedures as previously, but this time they altered the size of the circles, associating a negative shock with the larger ones. According to brain scans, patients who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have fewer connections between the hippocampus and the salience network, a learning, and survival system.
The amygdala (another emotional brain region) and the default mode network communicate less (an area of the brain that activates when someone is not focused on the outside world). These data show how difficult it is for someone with PTSD to distinguish between the circles.
This shows that persons with PTSD have difficulty detecting whether a situation has an emotional component. Negative; further research is needed to see whether this also applies to good emotions. This also shows that people’s emotions can interfere with their ability to weigh the risks and benefits of various options in the real world. Accepts the generalization of a potentially hazardous propensity.”
“Data from both researches, arising from a NIMH-funded study attempting to uncover brain and behavioral processes of trauma, PTSD, and resilience,” said Neria, the project’s primary scientist. “Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by damage to the areas of the brain that are in charge of processing and reacting to fear.
My colleagues and I are working with Dr. Suarez-Lab Jimenez’s group at the University of Rochester to further neurobiological research that might one day lead to novel therapies targeting deficiencies in the brain’s fear circuitry.”
Suarez-Jimenez seeks to better understand the brain foundation of emotion and its vast spectrum by using VR in more lifelike scenarios. He wonders if these adaptations are limited to protective behavior or extend to other types of conduct.