Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PTSD recovery thickens your brain (and that's a good thing)

According to a study conducted by Kyoon Lyoo, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at Seoul National University in South Korea, patients with PTSD who improved their mental health also experienced a thickening of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a portion of the brain that, according to our friend Wikipedia, "plays an important role in the integration of sensory and mnemonic information and the regulation of intellectual function and action."

The study followed 30 survivors of a subway fire for five years. The patients not only received psychiatric care, they were also periodically examined through neuroimaging to get a picture of what was going on inside their brains.

A control group was also followed over the course of the five years. The study found that "During the first year and a half of the study, the trauma subjects also acquired a thicker dorsolateral prefrontal cortex than controls did," according to a report at Psychiatric News.

The researchers concluded that boosting the thickening of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, possibly through "transcranial magnetic stimulation before and early after trauma," could be a way to help people recover from trauma.

Read more about this study here:

Why Does Brain Thickening Occur During PTSD Recovery?

The study itself can be found here. (The full article is only available to subscribers. The abstract is available to all.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Employers' Misconceptions About PTSD

According to a survey cited by Lisa Stern of the Department of Labor’s project America’s Heroes at Work program, 46 percent of HR managers believe PTSD poses a "hiring challenge" -- namely that people with PTSD or TBI are not efficient or create a potential problem for violence in the workplace. But Stern said these assumptions are myths, and no evidence backs them up.

In His VA blog Vantage Point, Alex Horton summarizes some of the advice Stern had for hiring vets and other people with PTSD:
  • Consider flexible work hours
  • Put instructions in writing instead of just relying on verbal communication
Stern also said that the act of working can by itself help reduce PTSD symptoms.

Read more:

Debunking Employers’ Misconceptions About PTSD and TB 

What other myths about PTSD have you encountered in the workplace? Discuss them in the comments.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

9/11 anniversary could trigger PTSD symptoms

UPI reports: "The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center left 10,000 firefighters, police officers and civilians with post-traumatic stress disorder." PTSD symptoms for these people are expected to increase as we near the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Read more:

9/11-related PTSD haunts thousands

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Study: Risperdal Does Not Help PTSD

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that anti-psychotic drugs like Risperdal do not help alleviate PTSD symptoms, despite their common use with veterans.

According to the study, 20% of veterans being treated by the VA for PTSD took an anti-psychotic in 2009. More than 90% of those veterans took second-generation anti-psychotics, which include Risperdal.

The FDA has not approved the use of anti-psychotics for treatment of PTSD.

You can read more about the study here, and find the actual study here. (The paper is free right now, but may be behind a pay firewall later.)