Research Pinpoints Neural Circuits Driving PTSD

Brain scan side view
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

CBC News reports that new research has identified a key mechanism of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos, who is on the faculty of Consortium member the Center for Cognitive Sciences, also leads the Brain Sciences Center at the Minneapolis VA. His lab has identified the neural pathways that drive the flashbacks and panic attacks that characterize PTSD. Healthy brains are able to re-form neural networks, wiping the slate clean of past stimuli to allow the absorption of new information. Using brain scans to compare healthy people vs. those who suffer from PTSD, the scientists at the lab observed "healthy people had the ability to maintain the flexibility of their networks at various trauma strength exposures," according to Georgopolous. However, those with PTSD had "inflexible" neural networks that were "locked in and couldn't be modulated." The hope is this research can be applied to create more effective PTSD therapies. Read the entire article here