New Information on the Neuroscience of PTSD & Depression: How It Affects Torture Treatment and Outcomes


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Wednesday, 25 April 2012


The brain is very sensitive to the environment. It responds to both internal and external environment, including trauma. The brain is capable of rapid physiological and affective changes, depending upon the heredity and stress (genes & environment). All of us who treat patients need to know how the brain interacts with our work. This information helps us in understanding how therapy affects the outcome and why medications act differently on various symptoms of PTSD and depression and need to be tailored to each individual. Current information is based on newer study methods including MRI and fMRI, animal studies including “knockout mice”, DNA, micro assays, viral-medicated gene transfer, among others. The presentation provides information to help us understand why some individuals, as compared to others, suffer more severe reactions to trauma. The presentation also helps us understand varying reactions to treatment and the interactive effects of psychiatric medications and psychotherapy. In the future, we should have a better idea of what medicines will work for a particular individual prior to treatment.


Dr. David Kinzie is Professor of Psychiatry, clinician, and researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University, where he founded the Intercultural Psychiatric Program (IPP) in 1977. He currently treats survivors of torture from Bosnia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Cambodia in the Torture Treatment Center of Oregon, a part of the IPP. Dr. Kinzie is a distinguished fellow in the American College of Psychiatrists and has published widely on the effects of trauma and torture on refugees and immigrants, effective treatment and outcomes.

References/Bibliography for further research

J. David Kinzie, M.D., F.A.C. Psych

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