Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Stress is useful to the body in short bursts; acute stress allows prey to evade predators and mild stress boosts learning. Severe stress disrupts normal biological functions such as sleep, memory, and reward (e.g., pleasure from food or sex). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) arises from defective processing of anxiety-laden memories. Informed Simplifications is developing a biologically realistic neurocomputational model of PTSD that includes key aspects of memory, stress and sleep systems. These models will support rational, polypharmaceutical treatments of this disease and its symptoms. Informed Simplifications was awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer Research grant in 2006 by the NIMH to develop this computational model of PTSD to provide predictive tools for researchers and clinicians.