Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trauma, PTSD Followed By Reduction In Region Of The Brain Involved With Memory

Date:
August 27, 2008
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
While debate continues over the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, a new study indicates traumatic events and PTSD symptoms may be followed in some cases by a size reduction in a part of the brain called the hippocampus.

While debate continues over the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, a new study indicates traumatic events and PTSD symptoms may be followed in some cases by a size reduction in a part of the brain called the hippocampus.

Though most attention surrounding PTSD focuses on war veterans, the advance by Brigham Young University researchers involved a larger population at risk: abused children.

“The size reduction in the hippocampus seems to occur sometime after the initial exposure to stress or trauma in childhood, strengthening the argument that it has something to do with PTSD itself or the stress exposure,” said Dawson Hedges, a BYU neuroscientist and an author on the study.

The study appears in the August issue of the neuroscience journal Hippocampus, providing further evidence of a neurological component for this mental disorder.

“Most people exposed to traumatic events do not develop PTSD,” Hedges said. “However, those that do may show certain changes in their brains.”

The hippocampus is involved with learning and memory. More than a decade ago, neuroscientists saw the first signs that it could be smaller in some people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Since then scientists have puzzled over which came first, the small hippocampus or the traumatic events leading to PTSD.

The question is not easily answered because brain scans are costly and usually only performed after the fact.

That’s why Hedges and grad student Martin Woon combined analyses of two groups: abused children with PTSD and adults with PTSD stemming from childhood abuse. The BYU researchers pooled data from 19 previously published studies where MRIs were obtained from people who had experienced childhood trauma.

“The big question about which came first, much like the chicken and the egg, has persisted,” said Woon, the lead author on the paper. “We found children’s hippocampi were intact after the onset of abuse, but somehow there was shrinkage in the group that had reached adulthood.”

The federal government reported 905,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2006. That figure is considered lower than the actual total because it does not include unreported cases of abuse.

“The prevalence of abuse in this country is staggering,” Hedges said. “With what we have found, the effects of childhood abuse may have neurological ramifications well into adult life. Boiling it down, people should be nice to their children.”

The extent to which the lost brain matter affects brain functioning is still unknown. Hedges plans to examine whether PTSD relates to learning and memory deficits in a follow-up study.

While Hedges sees the potential for intervention to lessen the consequences of PTSD, other priorities include prevention and early identification.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "Trauma, PTSD Followed By Reduction In Region Of The Brain Involved With Memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825203813.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2008, August 27). Trauma, PTSD Followed By Reduction In Region Of The Brain Involved With Memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825203813.htm
Brigham Young University. "Trauma, PTSD Followed By Reduction In Region Of The Brain Involved With Memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825203813.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins