About the Research
Trauma influences the mental health of victims. However, scientists and medical experts are not sure how profound this impact is. That is, the scientific community cannot determine how trauma impacts the brain on a physiological level. Even though we can notice changes in behavior and personality.
Mental symptoms associated with children and adults that experience trauma are known as dissociative symptoms. They are behavioral changes that express themselves differently depending on the individual. The more common symptoms are amnesia, out of body experience, and the feeling of emotional numbness.
Researchers from McLean Hospital are discovering that brain imaging can reveal the impact of trauma. That is, their research is unveiling that trauma creates changes in functional connections between brain regions. Furthermore, the regions that show change are linked with dissociative symptoms.
Researchers working on this study applied a new machine-learning (artificial-intelligence) technique on functional magnetic resonance images. The research looks at 65 women with a history of childhood abuse and they also have posttraumatic-stress disorder (PTSD). The new imaging technique shows that the change in connections between different regions of the brain correlates with dissociative symptoms.
After the initial results, Lauren A. M. Lebois, one of the lead researchers in the study said:
“This moves us one step closer to identifying a ‘fingerprint’ of dissociation in the brain that could be used as an objective diagnostic tool,” Furthermore, she claims that this novel technique will help us discover trauma in people that cannot talk about their experience.
Before this research, it was hard to determine how experiencing violence and other forms of trauma influence the brain. Furthermore, this gap in knowledge made it impossible for certain victims to prove that they have mental problems. Not only that, but the victim couldn’t get payments from insurance companies. Because there was little medical evidence that proves trauma affects the brain on a physiological level.
With new advancements in how we use AI, we can look into the brain for evidence. This will make treatment easier because we will know what regions to target. Also, people that have amnesia or selective memory and difficulty talking about their experience of trauma can get treatment.
- A new study uses machine-learning to discover the impact of trauma on the brain.
- The study shows that brain trauma influences how different regions of the brain connect and function.
- Findings from this study may revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of dissociative symptoms.