We are still very much in the dark in understanding psychiatric disorders. Through collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry, we aspire to understand the brain representation of psychiatric disorders and how to treat them.
According to epidemiological studies, most people are exposed to a traumatic event at least once during their life time. About 20% will develop continuous psychological stress as a result of these events while others will not be significantly affected. This syndrome is called Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or PTSD. Together with Prof. Omer Bonne, Dr Ruth Giesser, and Dr Einbal Reuveni of the Department of Psychiatry we study the brain representation of PTSD. We study brain connectivity in rest, focusing in particular on the default mode network – a network of brain regions found to be related to internal processes and is involved in psychiatric disorders. We also study the white matter fibers connecting brain regions, looking for possible differences between PTSD patients and healthy control subjects.
In another study, together with Dr Eitan Abramowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, we study the use of hypnosis as a tool for treating PTSD. One of the PTDS symptoms is repeated flashbacks – memories of images that do not let go of the patient. Hypnosis is clinically used to “wipe” those memories clear, but the brain mechanisms behind this treatment are still unclear. We study the affect of hypnosis on the brain and how it affects visual memories.