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Stress response to 9/11


Most Americans were deeply affected by the attacks of 9/11. The ten year anniversary is tomorrow, Sunday. Researchers are interested to know just how wide spread the impact was.

Initial research points to 40% of American experiencing consider symptoms of stress immediately after and for some time after the event. Researchers from teh University of Michigan reported in the Journal of Traumatic Stress that individuals who were not directly involved in the attacks showed raised stress responses compared to every day visual images.

"Other studies have shown that the 9/11 attacks resulted in a wave of stress and anxiety across the United States, Eight to ten percent of the residents of New York City reported symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTDS) and depression while forty percent of Americans across the country experienced significant symptoms of stress related to the attacks," said author Ivy Tso.

Within a week of the attacks, Tso's team conducted a study of 31 students in Boston. None of them had been directly involved in the events of that day. They were shown 90 pictures. Thirty contained images of the 9/11 attacks. Some were considered "negative" but not related to the attack. The balance were considered "neutral" and again, not related to the events. After seeing the photos, the students' brain activity was measured.

"The results of the study indicate that participants' brainwave responses during processing of the images deviated from normal in proportion to thei self-report distress level directly related to the 9/11 attack," said Tso. This was similar to those suffering from PTSD.

Source: Journal of Traumatic Stress, MedicalNewsToday

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