Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Permanent amygdala changes in people close to 9/11 attack

I'm passing on this brief piece pointed out to me by blog reader Scott Rosenblum, from Scientific American Mind. Readers will recall that the amygdala is the part of the brain that regulates emotional intensity and creates emotional memories. One clip:
In the Cornell study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri) scans showed that people within two miles of the site that day have a hyperactive amygdala as compared with people who lived 200 miles away, even though those nearby were seemingly resilient and show no signs of mental disorder. The N.Y.U. team similarly found that when asked to recall the events of 9/11, twice as many people who were near Ground Zero had elevated amygdala activity as compared with people who were five miles away in midtown Manhattan. Slow recovery of a highly active amygdala, the Cornell researchers say, could increase susceptibility to mental health problems later in life.
By the way, Scientific American Mind is issued monthly, some of the brief articles you can read, others require a digital subscription (which I have been too stingy to spring for.)

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