Therapeutically reliving and elaborating your traumatic experiences CAN be harmful

In the June 18th, 2007 issue of Newsweek, Sharon Begley wrote an opinion column that must have raised a few hackles in the psychotherapy community. In her words, “…(for) patients seeking psychotherapy….talking can be dangerous … and therapists have not exactly rushed to tell them so.” One well-documented class of examples has come from “stress…

Brain fitness training: measuring psycho-social dimensions of brain health

Dr. William Bailey’s comments about a study that he and his colleague Jean Turner are conducting on the impacts of BrainHQ training on symptoms of depression, self-efficacy and related psycho-social dimensions in older individuals is worth special mention. We welcome these two University of Arkansas scientists into our community, and look forward to their study…

Two additional risk factors for PTSD (one surprising; one mundane)

Being ambidextrous is pretty useful as a member of your Little League team, but it turns out to be not quite so positive if your brain is later faced with traumatic experiences. Rather surprisingly, a study of 2,490 individuals exposed to combat in Vietnam revealed that an ambidextrous individual is about twice as likely to…

I think, therefore I am

There are several highly-ordered neurological representations of the surfaces of your body within a cortical region called “S1”, which occupies a narrow band that roughly bisects the cerebral cortex mantle from a location just above and in front of your ear, and extends from ear to ear. When you stimulate a specific location on the…

How can we help our brain-traumatized soldiers and vets? Nancy raises a ‘call for ACTION’.

Nancy Martin-Crisco wrote a heart-rending response to a blog I posted  (“How to get PTSD. Twice. Worse.”) that you all should read. Her son Christopher was diagnosed with PTSD after service in Afghanistan. After a few months stateside, he was redeployed to Baghdad. It was NOT good for him. Addiction, divorce, separation from his child,…

A brain fitness graduate comes home

A couple of weeks ago, Jerry Emmons shared his story with Posit Science. It seems that the 84-year-old was spending much of each day re-living old, painful World War II memories. He had been the only survivor in his crew and the horror was haunting him more and more. “Post-traumatic stress disorder,” said his doctor.…

How to get PTSD. Twice. Worse.

I just read disturbing comments by a highly respected University of California doc Karen Seal [who screens and treats returning veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan at San Francisco’s famous Ft. Miley Veterans Administration Hospital, one of our premier VA Research Hospitals] about the redeployment of young soldiers treated for PTSD and other neurological and psychatric…

Understanding other brains

Alan Towers wrote an instructive, poignant comment about the difficulty that he had understanding that his schizophrenic son could not be EXPECTED to “make sense”, if sense was defined by the standards that applied for Alan, or for the wider society. Because so many people who live with psychotic illness or substantial neurological impairment require…

Was that Will really Free?

Not Shakespeare, mind you. We’re talking about the infamous Mr. Seung-Hui Cho. Stephanie noted in a comment that Sharon Begley had written very cogently (and generally in agreement with what I had written) about the origins of behavior that could result in something like the Virginia Tech massacre. Sharon Begley is a highly informed science…