venerdì 15 giugno 2012

“IL TERREMOTO CAMBIA IL CERVELLO”? (II)

Come la scorsa settimana, voglio offrire questa rubrica: CERVELLO & TERREMOTO per tutte le persone vittime del sisma che continua a farsi sentire nel nord Italia, per tutti coloro che il terremoto ha strappato all’affetto dei propri cari e per tutti coloro che restano e vogliono reagire.
Il terremoto cambia il cervello, così titolava il 4 giugno 2012 Massimo Sandal in un articolo pubblicato sul portale daily.wired.it e che ho presentato la scorsa settimana.

 
Oggi voglio esporre la prima parte dell’articolo scientifico che sostiene, con dati ed evidenze empiriche neuroscientifiche, come insorgano cambiamenti strutturali nel cervello umano a seguito dell’esperienza esterna, in particolare, a seguito di eventi drammatici di nota entità come nel caso di un terremoto.

L’articolo scientifico originale, tratto dalla Rivista Molecular Psychiatry e pubblicato online lo scorso 22 maggio 2012 si intitola:

Brain structural changes as vulnerability factors and acquired signs of post-earthquake stress

Firmano l’articolo un gruppo di ricercatori appartenenti a diverse istituzioni accademiche Giapponesi: Department of Functional Brain Imaging, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan; International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan; Division of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan; Smart Ageing International Research Center, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan; Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan; Department of Psychiatry, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.

Presento ora l’abstract che introduce il lavoro scientifico realizzato.

Abstract

Many survivors of severe disasters, even those without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), need psychological support. To understand the pathogenesis of PTSD symptoms and prevent the development of PTSD, the critical issue is to distinguish neurological abnormalities as vulnerability factors from acquired signs of PTSD symptoms in the early stage of adaptation to the trauma in the normal population. The neurological underpinnings of PTSD have been well characterized, but the causal relationships with the traumatic event are still unclear. We examined 42 non-PTSD subjects to find brain morphometric changes related to the severity of PTSD symptoms in a longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging study extending through the Great East Japan Earthquake. We found that regional grey matter volume (rGMV) in the right ventral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) before the earthquake, and decreased rGMV in the left orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) through the earthquake were negatively associated with PTSD symptoms. Our results indicate that subjects with smaller GMV in the ACC before the earthquake, and subjects with decreased GMV in the OFC through the earthquake were likely to have PTSD symptoms. As the ACC is involved in processing of fear and anxiety, our results indicate that these processing are related to vulnerability for PTSD symptoms. In addition, decreased OFC volume was induced by failing to extinct conditioned fear soon after the traumatic event. These findings provide a better understanding of posttraumatic responses in early stage of adaptation to the trauma and may contribute to the development of effective methods to prevent PTSD.

Keywords:

acquired sign; brain structure; disaster; Posttraumatic stress disorder; voxel-based morphometry; vulnerability.
La prossima settimana inizierò ad analizzare puntualmente l'intero lavoro. Partirò da questa breve introduzione.

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