IRP Researchers Explore How the Brain Shrugs Off Severe Stress
Deep within the brain, a structure called the hippocampus serves as a hub where memory and emotion collide, helping us to learn what not to do if we want to stay safe. However, for the 12 million people in the U.S. with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those self-preservation instincts kick into overdrive, with severe consequences for quality of life.
June is PTSD Awareness Month, which draws attention to an often-debilitating condition that occurs when people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event or period in their lives continue to experience severe depression and anxiety for months or years afterward. While there are a variety of medications and therapies that can help people with PTSD, not everyone benefits from those treatments. Before scientists can develop additional treatment options, they must learn more about the biological roots of the condition, so IRP senior investigator Heather Cameron, Ph.D., is doing her part by examining how stress affects the hippocampus, one of the few brain regions where new neurons are continuously born.