Faculty Offer Insight During Third Installment of Memory of Trauma Lecture Series
October 20, 2010
Assistant Professor of Psychology Michael Jarvinen and Associate Professor of Biology Todd Williams discussed "The Neuropsychology of Traumatic Memories" on October 20th as part of the lecture series "The Memory of Trauma and the Trauma of Memory. The Spanish Civil War and its Aftermath. Insights for Spain and Beyond." The lecture was held in the Janet M. Daley Library Lecture Hall and covered a variety of topics related to the neurobiological and psychological consequences of trauma.
Jarvinen opened the lecture with his discussion on stress, which he said in the United States alone, causes $30 billion dollars a year in medically related costs. He discussed two important people who played an important role in the study of stress.
"Hans Selye was an endocrinologist who coined the word ‘stress,'" Jarvinen said. "Another important person in the study of stress is Bruce McEwen. McEwen looked at how stress and trauma can affect the brain."
According to Jarvinen, two important parts of the brain to look at while studying stress are the amygdala and hippocampus. The social stress that people face, such as giving a lecture, alters the hippocampus. The neurons are the basic building block of the brain, which makes up to 10,000 new neurons a day. Yet, when a person deals with stress, the survival rate of these newly born neurons is greatly reduced.
Williams' address focused on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), specifically regarding its affect on those in the military.
"In a Katz Suicide study done in 2008, suicide [was found to be] three times more likely among veterans then the general population," he said. "Around 300,000 veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or major depression."
The lecture series, "The Memory of Trauma and the Trauma of Memory. The Spanish Civil War and its Aftermath. Insights for Spain and Beyond" is organized by Emmanuel's Department of Foreign Languages with the support of the Spanish Consulate at Boston.