Manufacturing PTSD evidence with machine learning

What would you do if you were a scientist who had strong beliefs that weren’t borne out by experimental evidence? Would you be honest with yourself about the roots of the beliefs? Would you attempt to discover why the beliefs were necessary for you, and what feelings were associated with the beliefs? Instead of the … Continue reading Manufacturing PTSD evidence with machine learning

Perpetuating the meme that rodent PTSD experiments necessarily apply to humans

This 2015 Texas A&M rodent study found: “Propranolol administration dampened the stress-induced impairment in extinction observed when extinction training is delivered shortly after fear conditioning.” The researchers were way off base in extrapolating this study to humans: “Propranolol may be a helpful adjunct to behavioral therapy for PTSD, particularly in patients who have recently experienced … Continue reading Perpetuating the meme that rodent PTSD experiments necessarily apply to humans

Translating PTSD research findings from animals to humans

This 2014 rodent study stressed the animals, measured their stress responses, then killed them and sampled genes in their amygdala, hippocampus, and blood. The researchers found that glucocorticoid receptor signaling genes were the primary pathway associated with “exposure-related individual differences“ in stress responses for the amygdala and blood. This pathway also placed first for the … Continue reading Translating PTSD research findings from animals to humans

Sex-specific impacts of childhood trauma

This 2018 Canadian paper reviewed evidence for potential sex-specific differences in the lasting impacts of childhood trauma: “This paper will provide a contextualized summary of neuroendocrine, neuroimaging, and behavioral epigenetic studies on biological sex differences contributing to internalizing psychopathology, specifically posttraumatic stress disorder and depression, among adults with a history of childhood abuse. Given the … Continue reading Sex-specific impacts of childhood trauma

The inevitable effects of avoidable wars

“It was like Tom had tried to return home,” says Jacky Sweetnam. “But he didn’t quite make it.” http://news.nationalpost.com/features/the-ghosts-of-vietnam-the-last-days-of-a-decorated-canadian-vet “The Ghosts of Vietnam” In memoriam to my father who died twenty years ago last week. World War II ruined his life with undiagnosed PTSD, some of the effects of which affected his children. His brother … Continue reading The inevitable effects of avoidable wars

Does shame keep you up at night?

This 2016 Netherlands human study found: “Restless REM [rapid eye movement] sleep reflects a process that interferes with the overnight resolution of distress. Its accumulation may promote the development of chronic hyperarousal. We use the term “restless REM sleep” here to refer to REM sleep with a high number of phasic events, including arousals and … Continue reading Does shame keep you up at night?

Conclusions without evidence regarding emotional memories

The last sentence in the Significance section of this 2015 Emory/Harvard rodent study was: “These data highlight the potential to exploit sensory system plasticity as a means of ameliorating negative emotional memories that may be tied to peripheral sensory systems.” The “ameliorating negative emotional memories” part of this statement was incongruent with what the study … Continue reading Conclusions without evidence regarding emotional memories

A possible link between stress responses and human cancers?

This 2015 UK rodent study found: “An unexpected role for the GR [glucocorticoid receptor] in promoting accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis. We also identify reduced GR expression in several common human cancers, thereby implicating GR as a novel tumor suppressor gene.” One of the researchers said: “Cancer is caused by cell division going wrong, but … Continue reading A possible link between stress responses and human cancers?