Brain size leads to the discovery of PTSD treatment among adolescents

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Nov 16, 2016 01:48 PM EST

Study that was conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine about post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD involves young people as a subject. Results show that the condition does not only affects adults but to young people as well and more prevalent to girls than to boys.

According to Inquisitr, the study analyzes the brains of young patients suffering from PTSD, a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event either experiencing it or just witnessing it, and found that there is a difference in the features of the brain of the male patient compared to the female patient. And such difference can be found in the Insula.

Insula a part of the brain that is responsible for integrating feelings and actions among other brain functions. It is also where emotions and empathy and picking up signals and hints from the body are being processed.

In the study, the researchers scanned the brains of 59 children ages 7 to 9 years old, using sMRI or structural magnetic resonance imaging machine. 29 of these children are placed in the control group while the other 30 children in a test group with symptoms of trauma like mood swings and mentally reliving their traumatic events.

As for the result, girls and boys in the control group had no differences in the brain structure but among those with PTSD, the Insula of the boys are larger compared with the boys in the control group while the girls have smaller size compared to the girls in the control group.

In an article from The Huffington Post, the research team were very surprised for the result. "Boys and girls were so clearly on different ends of the spectrum", said Megan Klabunde, lead author of the study and a psychologist and neuroscience researcher at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Likewise, Dr. Victor Carrion, a professor of psychiatric and behavioral sciences in Stanford University, also explains that "Insula plays a key role in the development of PTSD. The difference between the brains of boys and girls who have experienced psychological trauma is important because it may help explain the differences of trauma symptoms between sexes."

The researchers believed that the findings of the study would allow doctors and scientists to come up with sex-specific tools and treatments for young PTSD and trauma victims in the future.

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