Dr. Tim Schoenfeld, assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Science, published an article in Hippocampus titled, “New neurons restore structural and behavioral abnormalities in a rat model of PTSD.”
Using pharmaceutical and genetic models of adult rats, Schoenfeld manipulated the creation of new brain cells in an area called the hippocampus, which is important for processing learning, anxiety and stress. Rats went through a stress model that mimicked that seen in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and rats without the ability to create new neurons in the hippocampus were unable to recover from traumatic stress.
These rats continued to demonstrate high anxiety levels and poor learning and memory long after stress was over. These findings help explain some of the brain mechanisms involved in PTSD and offer new insight into developing treatments for those suffering from it. The abstract of his published article can be found here.