Research Center

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Psychophysiology Laboratory performs state-of-the-art psychobiological research into the assessment, pathophysiology, prevention, and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Current Research Projects

The laboratory is presently conducting the following federally funded studies:

  1. Positron emission tomographic study of cerebral blood flow during traumatic mental imagery in PTSD (R.K. Pitman, Principal Investigator). The major goal of this study is to evaluate which regions of the brain are selectively activated during traumatic re-experiencing.
  2. Secondary prevention of PTSD with propranolol (R.K. Pitman, Principal Investigator). The major goal of this project is to investigate the effectiveness of the beta-adrengergic blocker propranolol in preventing the development of PTSD in persons presenting to the MGH Emergency Department following a traumatic experience.
  3. Prospective psychophysiologic study of risk for PTSD (S.P Orr, Principal Investigator). The major goal of this project is to examine a promising set of pre-trauma psychophysiologic, endocrinologic, and psychometric measures for their ability to predict the occurrence of PTSD following exposure to traumatic events in firefighter/EMT and police recruits.

Additional studies are in planning. The laboratory also provides consultation to other MGH faculty, residents, pre and post doctoral fellows, and students regarding PTSD research design and implementation.






Research at Mass General

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