Police officers under attack: Resilience implications of an fMRI study

Police officers under attack: Resilience implications of an fMRI study

Author Peres, Julio F. P. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Foerster, Bernd Google Scholar
Santana, Leandro G. Google Scholar
Fereira, Mauricio Domingues Google Scholar
Nasello, Antonia G. Google Scholar
Savoia, Mariangela Google Scholar
Moreira-Almeida, Alexander Google Scholar
Lederman, Henrique Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Institution Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
São Paulo State Militarized Police Force
Univ Fed Juiz de Fora
Abstract Objective: Crime is now a top-priority public-health issue in many urban areas. São Paulo's state police force was the target of gunfire attack on an unprecedented scale. Several officers were killed or wounded, and many more were affected by psychological trauma. We investigated the brain activity underlying trauma, the coping effect of psychotherapy, and resilience in a highly homogenous sample that experienced the same traumatic event. the design applied was a between-group comparison of cerebral blood-oxygenation-level-dependent signals and symptom scores of police officers with and without partial Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (pPTSD).Method: We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the retrieval of traumatic memories of 36 volunteers divided in three groups: (1) pPTSD policemen submitted to psychotherapy: (2) pPTSD policemen on the wait list: and (3) symptom-free (resilient) policemen. All participants were given a baseline fMRI scan and a follow-up scan some 40 days later. Not given psychotherapy, groups 2 and 3 were controls.Results: Group 1 showed 37% fewer PTSD symptoms post-psychotherapy and their scores and neural expressions were comparable to Group 3 resilient policemen. A marked increased in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) activity was concomitant with decreased amygdala activity during traumatic memory retrieval in both resilient and pPTSD participants (after psychotherapy) and these findings were associated with symptom attenuation.Conclusions: Our results provide neurophysiological evidence of resilience in a high-risk group for PTSD. Psychotherapy may help to build narratives and resilient integrated translations of fragmented traumatic memories via mPFC, and thus weaken their sensory content while strengthening them cognitively. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords PTSD
Language English
Date 2011-06-01
Published in Journal of Psychiatric Research. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V., v. 45, n. 6, p. 727-734, 2011.
ISSN 0022-3956 (Sherpa/Romeo, impact factor)
Publisher Elsevier B.V.
Extent 727-734
Origin http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.11.004
Access rights Closed access
Type Article
Web of Science ID WOS:000291573400003
URI http://repositorio.unifesp.br/handle/11600/33761

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