Online Trauma Training
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An Introduction to the Neurobiology of Traumatic Stress (Audio Training, 3 Credits)

with Jasmeet P. Hayes, PhD; Lisa M., Shin, PhD; Mohammed Milad, PhD; Ann Rasmusson, MD; Ananda Amstadter, PhD; Nicole Nugent, PhD

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Recent advances in neuroimaging, biochemistry, and genetics research have paved the way toward a greater understanding of the neurobiology of trauma and stress. As new technologies and methods are discovered and applied to neurobiological work, it becomes increasingly important for individuals interested in treating and studying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to learn the tools necessary to evaluate the latest research findings. The purpose of this pre-meeting institute is to provide attendees an introduction to the major biological approaches used to study PTSD, including a state-of-the-art review of trauma research and the methodological advantages and limitations inherent in these approaches. The target audience will be comprised of clinicians, researchers, and students with no familiarity or only a basic knowledge base of the biological aspects of traumatic stress. We will review the following topics: (1) Structural and Functional Neuroimaging of PTSD: This topic will include an overview of how neuroimaging data are collected, processed, and analyzed, in addition to the limitations and advantages of neuroimaging methods. Furthermore, a summary of the major findings and discoveries in the neuroimaging of PTSD will be discussed including altered brain networks most associated with PTSD. (2) Neuroendocrinology of PTSD: The nervous system responds to traumatic stress by deploying multiple neurotransmitters, hormones and neuropeptides that interact in complex ways to influence cognitive capacities and generate behavioral responses. This topic will review the different biochemical systems associated with trauma and PTSD, and serve as a primer on the methodologies and limitations of this approach. (3) Genetics of Traumatic Stress & PTSD: In this discussion, we will review different approaches to genetically informed research on trauma exposure and PTSD including twin and family studies, candidate gene research, genome wide association studies (GWAS), whole genome methods, gene-environment interplay studies, and epigenetic research. The state-of-the-art findings in trauma research, and the strengths and limitations as well as design considerations of these approaches will be discussed.

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize the latest research findings related to neuroimaging, neurohormones, and genetics of traumatic stress.
  • Describe advantages and limitations of neurobiological methods.
  • Compare and contrast different neuroimaging techniques.
  • Apply knowledge and skills acquired to clinical practice.