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Neuroplasticity and Calcium Signaling in Stressed Rat Amygdala
Annual rept. 1 Feb 2003-1 Feb 2004
HENRY M JACKSON FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF MILITARY MEDICINE ROCKVILLEMD
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Intense or chronic stress can have long-lasting consequences in an individuals health, and can be the cause of debilitating mental illnesses. A very common mental illness induced by traumatic stress is posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD. PTSD is a syndrome of symptoms indicative of emotional dysfunction, which develop after exposure to life-threatening events, or very stressful situations of different nature. Prevalent symptoms are fear and anxiety, which become particularly intense during exposure to situations reminiscent of the traumatic events that precipitated the disease. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder of considerable prevalence and morbidity and can affect persons of any age and ethnic or socioeconomic background. It is, unfortunately, a far too common result of participation in wars. In addition, epidemiological studies have suggested that the prevalence of PTSD is even higher in inner city communities exposed to compound community trauma. It is imperative, therefore, to understand the neurobiological mechanisms by which exposure to traumatic stress leads to PTSD in order to foster the development of new therapeutic strategies for the prevention and treatment of stress-related affective disorders such as PTSD. Clinical evidence indicates that certain stress-related affective disorders such as PTSD are associated with changes in the amygdalas excitability. The amygdala is a key component of the brains neuronal network that determines the emotional significance of external events
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE