Brain’s Gray Cells Appear To Be Changed By Trauma & Traumas Like Sept. 11 Make Brains More Reactive To Fear
This suggests that really bad experiences may have lasting effects on the brain, even in healthy people,” said Barbara Ganzel, the study’s lead researcher and postdoctoral fellow at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.
ScienceDaily -Jun. 4, 2008 — Healthy adults who were close to the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, have less gray matter in key emotion centers of their brains compared with people who were more than 200 miles away, finds a new Cornell study.
The study — one of the first to look at the effects of trauma on the brains of healthy adults — is published in the April issue of Neurolmage. It follows a Cornell study by the same authors that found people living near the World Trade Center on 9/11 have brains that are more reactive to such emotional stimuli as photographs of fearful faces. Combined, the two studies provide an emerging picture of what happens in the brains of healthy people who experience a traumatic event.
The smaller volume of gray matter — composed largely of cells and capillary blood vessels — that Ganzel found were in areas that process emotion and may be, Ganzel suggests, the brain’s normal response to trauma. The subjects in the study did not suffer from any mental or physical health disorders. Gray matter, a major component of the nervous system, is composed of the neuron cell bodies that process information in the brain.
About half of Americans experience a trauma in their lifetime, and scientists know a lot about the effects of trauma on the brains of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but not about people without clinical disorders. And most people, Ganzel said, who experience a trauma don’t get PTSD.
Key brain areas that are smaller are also more responsive to threat, said Ganzel, suggesting that these changes may be a helpful response to living in an uncertain environment.
“We have known for a long time that trauma exposure can lead to subsequent vulnerability to mental health disorders years after the trauma,” Ganzel added. “This research gives us clues about the biology underlying that vulnerability.”
The researchers used two types of magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of 18 people who were within 1.5 miles of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and compared them to scans of 18 people who lived at least 200 miles away at the time. One type showed the gray matter volume, and the other showed the brain’s response to emotional stimuli (pictures of fearful and calm faces). Those who were close to the disaster on Sept. 11 showed more emotional reactivity in the amygdala, a brain area that detects the presence of threatening information.
Combining the brain data revealed that those who were near the World Trade Center had smaller, more reactive amygdalas, and this, in turn, was related to how anxious they were years later. Several other brain regions associated with emotion processing were also smaller in those who were close to the disaster.
The researchers also found that study subjects who had experienced other types of trauma (violent crimes, sudden death of a loved one) showed a similar reduction in gray matter and similar response to emotional faces and anxiety.
“This suggests that the differences we see in the brain and behavior of people who were near the Sept. 11 disaster are not specific to that one event,” Ganzel said. “And it turns out there is a very similar pattern of gray matter volume loss with normal aging, which raises the question of what role trauma plays in the aging brain.”
Co-authors include Elise Temple of Dartmouth College, Cornell graduate student Pilyoung Kim, and Gary Glover of Stanford University.
“City “City of God”… what a name for a place which could not be so radically different than a paradise. This movie (Cidade de Deus) is brilliant in many senses. It shows the favelas in Rio de Janeiro through the eyes of internal observer. Who lived there. No preaching, no moral judgement’ quotes of high or middle class. It just unfolds the reality of living there, self-organized structure which appears when people are pushed beyond conventional social system and its values. The violence, love, hopes for a better future, survival…
According to Wikipedia most of the current favelas began in the 1970s, as a construction boom in the richer neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro initiated a rural exodus of workers from poorer states in Brazil. Heavy flooding in the low-lying slum areas of Rio also forcibly removed a large population into favelas, which are mostly located on Rio’s various hillsides. According to movie, government pushed unemployed and rural people into the “City of God”.
All chaotic systems tend toward self-organization. This one as well. But beyond social norms, the structure built up itself upon violence and cruel dominance of Alpha male. Since all were new, no clans of old gangsters were present. So the first ones were kids, younger than 18 years…
The last scenes really shocked me. The kids, no older than 12 years, took dominance over the favelas. it was joke for them, like they were shooting on PlayStation. lots of fun. But than, what kind of kids that social structure beyond social structure can produce? According to some sources, those kids still have control over favelas today … http://www.davidalton.com/brazilreport.html
It seems to me that our capitalistic society is ruled by the same principle, just on more noble and sophisticated way.
Vietnam, FED, Bilderberg group, September 11, Irak, ….alpha males, drug trafficking, weapons trade, civil causalities in the name of power and $$$ ….order within the order, order which orders all or strange attractor? When after many iterations you can recognise pattern.
Rocinha – the largest and most complex favela of Brazil. This favela holds 150000 people within 1 square mile.
Can Chaos theory as theory of dynamic systems explain dynamics of social behaviour?
Chaos theory offers an explanation and description of the transformation of social tori and other strange attractors from quasi-stability toward deep chaos. The short version is that when the periods of a system bifurcate the third time, they are in a situation where another very small change can produce great numbers of possible endstates toward which a person, a group, a business or a society might go.
The operative point to keep in mind for a theory of deviancy is that this great increase in alternative ways to behave is a feature of the whole system not just the single, acting person; punishment of individuals for trying to cope with such emergent conditions is an exercise in folly if not in mean-spirited vengeance. And, for those in social philosophy generally, it is good to remember that even in deep chaos there is a great deal of order.
And, even in deep chaos, it is possible to obtain an uncertain stability. A. Hbler (1992), of the University ofIllinois, Urbana, has shown that, if one can model the key rhythms of chaotic displays, one can control chaos even in the most uncertain regions of a bifurcation map.
An important point to note is that, in a sea of disorder, there are pockets of order. The emergence of such pockets of order is entirely unpredictable. Ilya Prigogine (1984) won a Nobel prize for setting forth the principles by which new order emerges out of disorder.
Watched today similar movie The Departed regards structures within the structure, voilence with its own rules. Well done (of course Scorsese), great actors (Di Caprio, Nicholson, Damon, …). Music as well: Roling Stones, Pink Floyd,.. Won 4 Oscars, excelent Scorsese’s movie piece. It just hasn’t touched me so much as City og God where the players were mostly amateut actors. And where reallity heavely strikes you.