Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Predicting post-traumatic stress disorder before it happens

14.06.2012
Tel Aviv University researchers use brain imaging to uncover susceptibility to psychological stress and trauma

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 indicate an individual's susceptibility to traumatic disorders than studying each area by itself, believes Prof. Hendler. In the last few years, the researchers have published on these issues in leading scientific journals including PNAS and Cerebral Cortex.

To look at the interactions between areas of the brain, study participants were monitored using EEG (which records electrical activity along the scalp) and fMRI (which measures changes in blood oxygenation in the brain) concurrently. Connections between the emotional and cognitive areas of the brain were recorded as subjects were exposed to continuous stimulations designed to cause stress and other emotional effects such as horror and sadness. Using advanced computational algroithms, the researchers identified the brain activity that was connected to the reported emotional experience. This brain marking will provide targets for therapeutic procedures based on a person's individual brain activity.

With these experiments, the researchers hope to improve their ability to read emotional states in the depths of the human brain. While they are currently working with EEG and fMRI, Prof. Intrator hopes that in the later stages of development they will be able to read results collected by EEG alone. Initial findings were recently presented at the prestigious Neural Information Processing Systems Conference and published in the journals Brain Connectivity and Neuroimage.

Diagnostics on the go

Ultimately, the researchers hope to develop a portable brain monitoring machine that will "enable the detection or quantification of the emotional state of people suffering from trauma," allowing for minimally invasive monitoring or diagnosis, says Prof. Intrator. He is working on applying this technology to the diagnosis of additional psychological disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, and attention deficit disorder (ADD) for the better management of these diseases. In the case of ADD, for example, this method could be used to monitor the level of concentration in a patient, and provide feedback that could help to regulate the patient's medicinal needs, such as the dosage of Ritalin.

Some of these projects are part of the newly-formed Israel Brain Technology (IBT) initiative, launched by Israeli President Shimon Peres and run by entrepreneur Rafi Gidron. IBT leverages technology and knowledge from Israeli universities to help Israel become a power player in neurotechnology.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University (www.aftau.org) supports Israel's leading, most comprehensive and most sought-after center of higher learning. Independently ranked 94th among the world's top universities for the impact of its research, TAU's innovations and discoveries are cited more often by the global scientific community than all but 10 other universities.

Internationally recognized for the scope and groundbreaking nature of its research and scholarship, Tel Aviv University consistently produces work with profound implications for the future.

George Hunka | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aftau.org

Further reports about: Aviv Brain IBT Israeli Neuroscience PTSD Predicting Psychological Science brain area mental disorder

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Insight into Molecular Processes

22.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Crowdsourced field data shows importance of smallholder farms to global food production

22.11.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>