PTSD Linked to Smaller Volume in Area of Brain Regulating Fear, Anxiety
Published November 9, 2012
Researchers have found that veterans, who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, have a much smaller volume in an area of the brain that is responsible for emotions like fear and anxiety.
According to the researchers at Duke University and the Durham VA Medical Center, this suggests that a significantly smaller volume in the amygdala, which is a small area in the brain that is responsible for regulating emotions, is linked to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
California veterans benefit lawyers are aware of several studies conducted in animals that have found that the amygdala plays a significant role in regulating fear, stress, and anxiety responses. However, the extent of the influence of this area on human emotions had not been confirmed. The researchers looked at the structural damage to the amygdala in persons who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder because they wanted to understand the effect of this region of the brain, which is responsible for processing fear and other responses.
The research included about 200 combat veterans who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq. About half of the veterans suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the other 50% had been injured during combat but had not developed any symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The researchers then scanned and compare the volumes of the amygdala in these veterans. They found that post-traumatic stress disorder was linked to a significantly smaller volume in the left and right amygdala. The research also confirmed the association between post-traumatic stress disorder and a smaller left hippocampus.
However, the research doesn’t seem to confirm whether the smaller size of the amygdala is due to physical trauma.