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.)

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