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PTSD research published

Dr. Phillip Zoladz, assistant professor of psychology, and his research team have published a journal article, “Blunted corticosterone response to acute predator stress results in long-term spatial memory impairment,” in the journal SOJ Psychology.

The article is based on research conducted over the last two to three years in Zolad’s rodent laboratory.  He explains, “In our research, we have been attempting to model post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in rats. In order to do so, we expose the rats to a cat, as this experience produces a very robust stress response in rats. Importantly, however, not every person who is traumatized develops PTSD. In fact, some work suggests that individuals who do not produce a strong cortisol response following trauma are more likely to develop PTSD than those who do.

“Thus, in our study, we examined whether a blunted corticosteroid response to stress would exacerbate its effects on PTSD-like behaviors in rats. Consistent with our hypothesis, we found that a blunted corticosteroid response in stressed rats led to significant memory impairments, a cardinal symptom of PTSD. Thus, this work may provide a model with which researchers can better understand the neurobiological mechanisms of the human condition.”

Authors of the study include Zolada, Hanna Burke, BA ’11, Cristina Robinson, BS ’13, Sarah Woelke, BA ’12, Bethany Wentz, BA ’12, Julia Pisansky, BA ’12, Jerel McKay, BS ’12, Kyle Dexter, a senior in psychology from Hartville, Ohio, and Dr. Jeffrey Talbot, former ONU pharmacy professor.

Read the entire article.