Neuroimaging measures of emotional brain function after acute trauma may help predict whether a person will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new study in Biological Psychiatry. Led by senior author Dr. Kerry Ressler of Emory University in Georgia and Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, the study reports an association between the activity of two key brain regions involved in emotional regulation, the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), shortly after trauma and symptoms of PTSD that emerged within the following year.

"This study introduces a new potential biomarker of PTSD, highlighting new roles for neuroimaging in PTSD research," said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. The identification of a PTSD biomarker has exciting implications for limiting or preventing symptoms of the disorder.

"The search for such early biological markers of poor recovery is very important, because it will allow us to find the people who are most at risk right after a trauma, and intervene early, before the onset of disorders such as PTSD or depression," said first author Dr. Jennifer Stevens, of Emory University.

Stress management therapy — A therapist teaches you relaxation techniques to help you overcome fear and anxiety, and to break the cycle of negative thoughts.


Some conventional therapies for PTSD (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapies [CBT]) include elements that are consistent with Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches. They are not considered to be CAM herein because CBT has a separate and well­developed basis in cognitive and behavioral theories. The CAM techniques that are used in CBT (e.g., relaxation, mindfulness) are conceptualized as supporting cognitive­behavioral mechanisms as opposed to operating on their own to create change. For example, relaxation may be used during exposure­based treatment for PTSD to manage arousal, thereby helping the patient to tolerate the exposure, which is believed to be the major change agent.


Visualization therapy, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, sound & music therapy are great mixed ingredients to attain this objective.


Breathing meditation is a powerful ally for military veterans recovering from post­ traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to Stanford research recently published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.


For several years, Emma Seppala, associate director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and lead author of the article, has been studying the effects of breathing­based meditation practices on veterans suffering from PTSD.


“This is the first randomized controlled study on a form of meditation or yoga for veterans with PTSD that has shown such long­term, lasting effects,” she said in an interview.


PTSD, which affects about one in five veterans, is typically triggered by the experience of a terrifying or life­threatening event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts and emotions. Returning vets suffering from PTSD have extremely high suicide rates, Seppala said.


Traditional treatments such as medication and therapy are not always effective, which causes many veterans to drop out of those programs, she said. Many veterans also feel a stigma associated with seeking traditional mental health services.


“For these reasons, there has been an increasing interest in complementary and alternative interventions both by Veterans Affairs and veterans themselves. However, without research, it is difficult to determine which interventions are effective,” she said.


Miami / Florida


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