Brain power

In the troubled city of Baltimore, where murder is almost a daily event, there lives the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, a research institute that has an unusual collection of almost 2,000 brains.

Scientists at the institute use the brains to research all kinds of disorders, including post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. It apparently houses the biggest collection of post-mortem brains with a known diagnosis of PTSD. The US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that around 8 million adults have PTSD in any given year, including not just members of the armed forces but refugees, civilians exposed to war, and victims of domestic violence, assault, and sex trafficking.

Scientists at the institute believe that the cells in a human brain change as a result of PTSD and that it’s not merely a question of psychology.

The institute wants to identify genetic variants that might increase a person’s risk for developing PTSD after trauma. That might just lead to the development of drugs to treat the problem.


Picture source: Tiia Monto via Wikimedia