New Research Examines Physical Effects of PTSD
Neuroimaging isn’t a word most people hear on a daily basis. But for San Francisco physicist, Norbert Schuff, it is the only word that really matters when it comes to his research. Schuff recently spoke at a conference at San Francisco’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center, consisting of some of the surrounding area’s leading neurologists, about the physical effects of PTSD on the brain.
His analysis was anything but uninteresting. Using color to depict different abnormalities in brain activity, Schuff provided his audience with a clear picture of how the brains of soldiers are affected by PTSD caused by time served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The results of his preliminary research concluded that soldiers suffering from PTSD are also suffering further neuron damage, due to losing about 5-10% of the gray matter volume in their brains.New
He explained that the areas colored yellow represented how the hippocampus had atrophied. The hippocampus is the major functioning component for a person’s emotions and short-term memory. The area colored red, he went on, represented areas in the prefrontal cortex with increased blood flow (hyperfusion). The prefrontal cortex is largely responsible for decision-making and conflict resolution.
Schuff stated that his research is strictly preliminary, being that “we’re still in the infancy of neuroimaging,” but it is a large step forward in understanding the real damage caused by PTSD.
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