WUFT News

New MIT Research Could Help PTSD Sufferers

By on September 24th, 2013

For some who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, all it takes is seeing an empty soda bottle on the side of the road to trigger traumatic memories.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) published a study Sept. 18 describing how the Tet1 gene could aid in treating patients with PTSD and addictions.

Andrii Rudenko, a post-doctoral associate from MIT, explained that the Tet1 gene is responsible for “memory extinction” and what helps the average person recover and move on from traumatic events.

If this gene is absent or reduced, it becomes difficult for stressful memories to be forgotten — like in most PTSD sufferers, Rudenko said.

“If Tet1 is not present any longer, a new memory cannot be formed to kick out an old memory,” Rudenko said.

Exposure therapy is also a treatment option for PTSD sufferers. Patients can undergo different “virtual reality” sessions to ultimately see that they are safe and free from harm, he said.

“After multiple treatments, patients will realize nothing is happening to them. The feeling of being scared does not totally disappear, but association with safety is rebuilt,” Rudenko said.

He said bad memories can mostly be diminished because people can always re-learn.

Memories might have the potential to be diminished, but they cannot be selectively erased, said Barry Setlow, associate professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of Florida.

Setlow said he explains to his students how PTSD patients behave by using an animal scenario. He says if you’re a zebra living out in the plains somewhere and a lion jumps out, assuming you escape, it behooves you to remember where lions live if you want to survive in the future. The downside is you could develop PTSD.

“There are always ways to lessen the likelihood of developing PTSD after traumatic events,” Setlow said. “Individuals who come in the hospital can undergo treatment to try to block certain stress hormones.”

PTSD is defined by the Anxiety and Depression Association (ADA) as a serious potentially debilitating condition that can occur in people who have witnessed a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist incident, sudden death of a loved one, war, violent personal assault such as rape or other life-threatening events.

PTSD affects 7.7 million Americans 18 and older, according to the ADA. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, flashbacks, bad dreams, frightening thoughts, easily startled, difficulty sleeping and outbursts.


This entry was posted in Health and Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

CDC Creates Stricter Guidelines For Treatment Of Ebola Patients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created stricter guidelines for the treatment of Ebola patients. The new guidelines address training and hands-on experience, preventing skin exposure, and strict observation of putting on and taking off Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


Hydrocodone has been moved to a stricter schedule II drug from a schedule III, making it more difficult to obtain for prescribed patients.

Hydrocodone Now More Difficult to Obtain for Prescribed Users

The Drug Enforcement Agency is tightening restrictions on oxycodone, making it more difficult for prescribed patients to obtain refills for their prescriptions.


Local Student Develops Epilepsy App, Wins $75,000

Amir Helmy’s science fair project idea has since developed into Seizario, an app that will allow epilepsy patients to monitor their seizures using the sensors from smartphones.


The University of Florida Student Health Care Center is offering free flu vaccinations for university students with a student ID.

Florida’s Fight Against Flu More Forceful This Season

More than 27 Florida counties are participating in a campaign to help fight influenza this season by giving free inhaled flu vaccines to students enrolled in elementary through high school. The campaign is being promoted by Healthy Schools LLC and Families Fighting Flu.


Ebola Preparation

Gainesville Officials Educated on Ebola Safety Procedures

Gainesville officials reassure residents of their knowledge of safety procedures taken in the case of a local Ebola case. Experts said residents shouldn’t worry about the spread of the infectious disease in Gainesville.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments