Trauma may alter even healthy peoples stress response

November 21st, 2007 - 2:22 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 21(ANI): A research conducted at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology states that trauma can change how a person responds to stress, even if they do have not developed a clinical disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression after incidents such as rapes, sudden deaths of loved ones, or life-threatening accidents.

The study led by Barbara Ganzel, a lecturer in human development in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, revealed that the trauma-exposed people might not exhibit post traumatic disorder but may have persistent differences in stress response.

“The findings suggest that there may be persistent differences in the stress response in some trauma-exposed people, even if they do not exhibit PTSD or depression or both, and even if their trauma was years in the past,” said Barbara Ganzel.

The study conducted on a group of women suspects that the stress response system in these women have compensated or changed over time

Measuring levels of a stress hormone in saliva (cortisol), they found that women who had experienced trauma earlier in life (but who did not have PTSD or major depression) had lower levels cortisol rather than higher levels, leading up to and after the MCAT exam.

“Stress initially boosts cortisol output but after the stressor is over, cortisol falls below normal. These data suggest that, in some people, it may fall below normal and stay there, or that it develops a chronic tendency to dip lower than normal under stress,” the author added

The study was published in special issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress on the biology of trauma also included John Eckenrode, Pilyoung Kim, Elaine Wethington, all in human development at Cornell; Eric Horowitz; and Elise Temple, formerly of Cornell and now at Dartmouth College.

The research was supported by the College of Human Ecology, the Family Life Development Center and the Laboratory for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at Cornell, as well as by the National Institute of Mental Health. (ANI)

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