MRI SHOWS BRAIN DISRUPTIONS IN CHILDREN WITH PTSD

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PTSD – over processing of brain to outside stimuli

Scientists find potential neurobiological marker to help recognize PTSD patients

Scientists at the Universities of Birmingham and Amsterdam hope to have found a new neurobiological marker to help recognize patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Using an electroencephalogram (EEG) – a test that detects electrical activity in a person’s brain via electrodes attached to their scalp – researchers studied the brain activity of a group of thirteen patients with PTSD.  The group was then compared to a group who had suffered a similar trauma but had not gone on to develop PDST.

PTSD is estimated to affect about one in every ten people who have a traumatic experience.  It can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event or it can occur weeks, months or even years later and can affect a person’s memory.

The type of events that can cause PTSD include serious road accidents, violent personal assaults, witnessing violent deaths, military combat, being held hostage, terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Dr Ali Mazaheri, of the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology and Centre for Human Brain Health, said of the study published today in Nature Scientific Reports: “We know that a symptom of PTSD can be heightened sensory sensitivity.

“In this study, we tested the brain’s response to a simple auditory sensory change by playing simple (standard 1000Hz) tones every second, and then intermittently playing a slightly altered tone (1200 Hz), known as a deviant.

“What we found was that patients who had developed PTSD showed enhanced brain responses to deviant tones, suggesting their brain over-processed any change in the environment.

“Importantly we found the more enhanced their response was, the more poorly they performed on cognitive tests looking at memory.”

Katrin Bangel, of the University of Amsterdam, said: “This is the first research study of its kind. The neurobiological evidence we now have shows how altered brain activity of a patient with PTSD is closely related to the way it processes the world.

“What’s more, this study is very unique in that it compared PTSD patients with a control group of those that also suffered similar trauma but didn’t develop PTSD, rather than a control group who had no trauma or PTSD – this really allows us to look at what triggers PTSD following significant trauma.

“We now potentially have a new neurobiological marker for PTSD patients that maps to their own individual symptoms.

“This marker, if validated, could be used to assess if an individual is getting better with treatment.   It can also be potentially used in diagnosing patients.”

Professor Dr Miranda Olff, of the University of Amsterdam and Arq Psychotrauma Expert Group, said: “This area of research is incredibly important.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.

“Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.

“They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult.

“These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.

“Therefore it is vital that we find new ways to treat the condition and also assess treatment outcomes.”

The team has now begun further research validating the marker and also plans a clinical trial to test potential treatments on patients with PTSD.

Depression and PTSD are health problems faced by our VETs

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The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, do something! Find out how to take action here.

  1. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (aka PTSD, an anxiety disorder that follows experiencing a traumatic event) are the most common mental health problems faced by returning troops.
  2. The most common symptoms of PTSD include: difficulty concentrating, lack of interest/apathy, feelings of detachment, loss of appetite, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, and sleep disturbances (lack of sleep, oversleeping.
  3. Post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed after several weeks of continued symptoms.
  4. In about 11 to 20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom) have been diagnosed with PTSD. Create a support board so your friends can show leave messages of encouragement for troops suffering from PTSD and other illnesses. Sign up for Support Board.
  5. 30% of soldiers develop mental problems within 3 to 4 months of being home.

Gut Bacteria May Predict PTSD Risk

Gut Bacteria May Predict PTSD Risk

Summary: People with PTSD had lower levels of three different gut bacteria than individuals who experienced trauma but didn’t develop the disorder, a new study reports.

Source: Stellenbosch University.

The bacteria in your gut could hold clues to whether or not you will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after experiencing a traumatic event.

PTSD is a serious psychiatric disorder that can develop after a person experiences a life-threatening trauma. However, not everyone exposed to a traumatic event will develop PTSD, and several factors influence an individual’s susceptibility, including living conditions, childhood experiences and genetic makeup. Stellenbosch University researchers are now also adding gut bacteria to this list.

In recent years, scientists have become aware of the important role of microbes existing inside the human gastrointestinal tract, called the gut microbiome. These microbes perform important functions, such as metabolising food and medicine, and fighting infections. It is now believed that the gut microbiome also influences the brain and brain function by producing neurotransmitters/hormones, immune-regulating molecules and bacterial toxins.

In turn, stress and emotions can change the composition of the gut microbiome. Stress hormones can affect bacterial growth and compromise the integrity of the intestinal lining, which can result in bacteria and toxins entering the bloodstream. This can cause inflammation, which has been shown to play a role in several psychiatric disorders.

“Our study compared the gut microbiomes of individuals with PTSD to that of people who also experienced significant trauma, but did not develop PTSD (trauma-exposed controls). We identified a combination of three bacteria (Actinobacteria, Lentisphaerae and Verrucomicrobia) that were different in people with PTSD,” explains the lead researcher, Dr Stefanie Malan-Muller. She is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Individuals with PTSD had significantly lower levels of this trio of bacteria compared to trauma-exposed control groups. Individuals who experienced trauma during their childhood also had lower levels of two of these bacteria (Actinobacteria and Verrucomicrobia). “What makes this finding interesting, is that individuals who experience childhood trauma are at higher risk of developing PTSD later in life, and these changes in the gut microbiome possibly occurred early in life in response to childhood trauma,” says Malan-Muller. She collaborated with researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder on the study.

One of the known functions of these bacteria is immune system regulation, and researchers have noted increased levels of inflammation and altered immune regulation in individuals with PTSD. “Changes in immune regulation and increased inflammation also impact the brain, brain functioning and behaviour. Levels of inflammatory markers measured in individuals shortly after a traumatic event, was shown to predict later development of PTSD.

Image shows gut bacteria.

“We therefore hypothesise that the low levels of those three bacteria may have resulted in immune dysregulation and heightened levels of inflammation in individuals with PTSD, which may have contributed to their disease symptoms,” explains Malan-Muller.

However, researchers are unable to determine whether this bacterial deficit contributed to PTSD susceptibility, or whether it occurred as a consequence of PTSD.

“It does, however, bring us one step closer to understanding the factors that might play a role in PTSD. Factors influencing susceptibility and resilience to developing PTSD are not yet fully understood, and identifying and understanding all these contributing factors could in future contribute to better treatments, especially since the microbiome can easily be altered with the use of prebiotics (non-digestible food substances), probiotics (live, beneficial microorganisms), and synbiotics (a combination of probiotics and prebiotics), or dietary interventions.”

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

The research group is launching a large-scale, population based initiative to unravel the intricate connections between the gut microbiome and the brain, in collaboration with the South African Microbiome Initiative in Neuroscience. The study will focus on people that have been diagnosed with any kind of psychiatric disorder in comparison to healthy control groups. This study will identify more links between the gut microbiome and disorders that affect the brain.

Source: Wilma Stassen – Stellenbosch University
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is for illustrative purposes only.
Original Research:Abstract for “The Microbiome in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma-Exposed Controls: An Exploratory Study” by Hemmings, Sian M.J.; Malan-Müller, Stefanie; van den Heuvel, Leigh L.; Demmitt, Brittany A.; Stanislawski, Maggie A.; Smith, David G.; Bohr, Adam D.; Stamper, Christopher E.; Hyde, Embriette R.; Morton, James T.; Marotz, Clarisse A.; Siebler, Philip H.; Braspenning, Maarten; Van Criekinge, Wim; Hoisington, Andrew J.; Brenner, Lisa A.; Postolache, Teodor T.; McQueen, Matthew B.; Krauter, Kenneth S.; Knight, Rob; Seedat, Soraya; Lowry, Christopher A in Psychosomatic Medicine. Published online October 2017 doi:10.1097/PSY.0000000000000512

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
Stellenbosch University “Gut Bacteria May Predict PTSD Risk.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 25 October 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/ptsd-gut-bacteria-7807/&gt;.

Abstract

The Microbiome in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma-Exposed Controls: An Exploratory Study

Objective: Inadequate immunoregulation and elevated inflammation may be risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and microbial inputs are important determinants of immunoregulation; however, the association between the gut microbiota and PTSD is unknown. This study investigated the gut microbiome in a South African sample of PTSD-affected individuals and trauma-exposed (TE) controls to identify potential differences in microbial diversity or microbial community structure.

Methods: The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 was used to diagnose PTSD according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition criteria. Microbial DNA was extracted from stool samples obtained from 18 individuals with PTSD and 12 TE control participants. Bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene V3/V4 amplicons were generated and sequenced. Microbial community structure, α-diversity, and β-diversity were analyzed; random forest analysis was used to identify associations between bacterial taxa and PTSD.

Results: There were no differences between PTSD and TE control groups in α- or β-diversity measures (e.g., α-diversity: Shannon index, t = 0.386, p = .70; β-diversity, on the basis of analysis of similarities: Bray-Curtis test statistic = –0.033, p = .70); however, random forest analysis highlighted three phyla as important to distinguish PTSD status: Actinobacteria, Lentisphaerae, and Verrucomicrobia. Decreased total abundance of these taxa was associated with higher Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale scores (r = –0.387, p = .035).

Conclusions:
 In this exploratory study, measures of overall microbial diversity were similar among individuals with PTSD and TE controls; however, decreased total abundance of Actinobacteria, Lentisphaerae, and Verrucomicrobia was associated with PTSD status.

“The Microbiome in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma-Exposed Controls: An Exploratory Study” by Hemmings, Sian M.J.; Malan-Müller, Stefanie; van den Heuvel, Leigh L.; Demmitt, Brittany A.; Stanislawski, Maggie A.; Smith, David G.; Bohr, Adam D.; Stamper, Christopher E.; Hyde, Embriette R.; Morton, James T.; Marotz, Clarisse A.; Siebler, Philip H.; Braspenning, Maarten; Van Criekinge, Wim; Hoisington, Andrew J.; Brenner, Lisa A.; Postolache, Teodor T.; McQueen, Matthew B.; Krauter, Kenneth S.; Knight, Rob; Seedat, Soraya; Lowry, Christopher A in Psychosomatic Medicine. Published online October 2017 doi:10.1097/PSY.0000000000000512

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