Patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Respond Differently to Certain Sounds

Posted on June 27, 2018

PTSD is estimated to affect about one in every ten people who have a traumatic experience. It can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event or it can occur weeks, months or even years later and can affect a person's memory. The type of events that can cause PTSD include serious road accidents, violent personal assaults, witnessing violent deaths, military combat, being held hostage, terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Using an electroencephalogram (EEG) -- a test that detects electrical activity in a person's brain via electrodes attached to their scalp -- researchers studied the brain activity of a group of thirteen patients with PTSD. The group was then compared to a group who had suffered a similar trauma but had not gone on to develop PTSD. In this study, researchers tested the brain's response to a simple auditory sensory change by playing simple (standard 1000Hz) tones every second, and then intermittently playing a slightly altered tone (1200 Hz), known as a deviant.

They found that patients who had developed PTSD showed enhanced brain responses to deviant tones, suggesting their brain over-processed any change in the environment. Importantly, they found that the more enhanced their response was, the more poorly they performed on cognitive tests looking at memory.

Researchers now potentially have a new neurobiological marker for PTSD patients that maps to their own individual symptoms. This marker, if validated, could be used to assess if an individual is getting better with treatment, and can also be potentially used in diagnosing patients. The research team has now begun further research validating the marker and also plans a clinical trial to test potential treatments on patients with PTSD.

Category(s):Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Source material from Science Daily