How Trauma Affects the Brain

Brain pic

Brain
Image: psychologytoday.com

Dr. Christie Mensch serves as a psychiatrist at the Wynadot Center in Kansas City, Kansas. In this role, Dr. Christie Mensch has evaluated and treated many survivors of trauma.

When a person survives an extremely traumatic event, whether a one-time occurrence or a sustained threat to safety, that experience changes the way the person’s brain responds to the world. This occurs in the context of the triune brain model, which distinguishes the survival-focused hindbrain from the emotional and sensory midbrain and the logical forebrain.

Trauma causes the hindbrain to assume control and work to keep the victim alive. The higher order functions of the brain essentially turn off as stress hormones prepare the body for the fight, flight, or freeze response.

The brain is designed to do this in response to threats of danger, but a severe trauma can prevent the intended response of ending survival mode and returning the forebrain to its normal status of rational control. Without this control, the instinctual and emotional responses of the lower-level brain take over.

The amygdala, responsible for identifying threats and connecting memory with emotion, becomes overactive and causes the person to perceive a threat in benign situations. At the same time, an increase in stress hormones prevents the brain from deescalating these threat perceptions.

These processes combine with trauma-induced increased blood flow to the right forebrain and decreased flow to the left forebrain. The person experiences a higher concentration of negative emotions and a reduced capacity to process or voice memories.

The result is often a distressing combination of symptoms that include intrusive thoughts, persistent fear, and negative mood and self-perception. It is possible for these changes to reverse, though it does require professional support and hard work on the part of the individual. Different treatments work for different people, though all involve rewiring and reprogramming affected neural processes.

The Zero Suicide Initiative at Wyandot Center

Wyandot Center pic

Wyandot Center
Image: wyandotcenter.org

Psychiatrist Dr. Christie Mensch works with adult patients at Wyandot Center, a mental health facility located in Kansas City, Kansas. Dr. Christie Mensch’s associates at Wyandot participate in the Zero Suicide Initiative, thanks to funding from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. This program is part of the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and works to prevent suicide deaths in people who are being cared for in various health care systems.

This program takes a big-picture, systemic approach to suicide prevention. It understands that practitioners require broader support and education in order to best help their patients. The Zero Suicide Initiative accordingly focuses on fostering leadership, providing training, and continually improving the level of care that practitioners offer.

At Wyandot, this training has helped practitioners. Therapists report feeling as though their efforts matter more and are more valuable to patients. The Zero Suicide Initiative has also highlighted the importance of particular skills, such as refuting harmful cognitive distortions.

New Drug May Help Prevent Depression

 Dr. Brachman pic

Dr. Brachman
Image: fastcompany.com

Dr. Christie Mensch serves as a psychiatrist at Kansas City’s Wyandot Center, where she provides outpatient services to a diverse population. Since assuming this role, Dr. Christie Mensch has treated many patients with clinical depression.

Although clinical depression is treatable, provided the patient has access to the resources of talk therapy and medication, there is no reliable way to prevent depression. However, neuroscientist and entrepreneur Rebecca Brachman has identified a drug that may help increase the brain’s resistance to the kind of stress that can lead to depressive symptoms.

The discovery came when Dr. Brachman and her team were working with laboratory mice that had been given the drug ketamine, which is used to address severe depression. When placed into another study testing resistance to stress, these same mice were immune to the depressive symptoms that researchers expected from animals put through significantly stressful situations. This occurred even though the mice were weeks out of their ketamine regimen.

Dr. Brachman is currently working on translating this discovery into the development of a drug that physicians can use to prevent depression in persons going into stressful situations. While recipients of the drug will not be immune to the stress itself, the drug may enable faster recovery.

A Handful of the Must-See Attractions for Travelers in Naples

Museo Archeologico Nazionale pic

Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Image: cir.campania.beniculturali.it

Dr. Christie Mensch provides comprehensive adult mental health services through the Wyandot Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Recreationally, Christie Mensch enjoys traveling throughout Europe and is especially fond of Italy’s Campania region. Naples, the largest city in Campania, has a rich history for visitors to explore.

The best way to get acquainted with this history is through a visit to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, which holds many of the antiquities recovered from Pompeii. In addition, the museum houses a great deal of art from the collections of former kings of Naples, as well as pieces from local palaces.

Another interesting attraction is Castel Nuovo on the south side of the Piazza del Municipio. This structure served as a home for kings and viceroys and its architecture points to the Spanish, Austrian, French, and Aragonese influences in the region. The castle dates back to 1279, when it was built by Charles I of Anjou.

Palazzo Reale, located on the east side of Piazza del Plebiscito, formerly served as the residence of the Bourbon kings. Its façade features marble statues of eight kings who ruled over Naples. The palace also connects to Teatro San Carlo, the premier opera house of Italy and one of Europe’s largest theaters.

Early Warning Signs of Schizophrenia

 

Crisis Stabilization Services at the Wyandot Center in Kansas

Wyandot Center pic

Wyandot Center
Image: wyandotcenter.org

Psychiatrist Christie Mensch serves patients at the Wyandot Center, a mental health facility in Kansas City, Kansas. In her daily work, Christie Mensch diagnoses and treats mental health issues in adults.

The Wyandot Center offers a full range of mental health and recovery services to individuals who have experienced mental health disorders. The center’s valuable services are open to adults who live in Wyandotte County and the greater Kansas City area.

Crisis support is of key importance at the Wyandot Center. There are several ways for community members to access immediate mental health services when in need. The walk-in crisis clinic on 47th Street is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Clinic therapists are ready to assist anyone who comes in, and appointments are not necessary.

The Wyandot Center also operates a 24-hour crisis hotline. Anyone experiencing emotional distress may call the hotline for assistance from a qualified mental professional. The hotline number is (913) 788-4200.

KU Research Team Uses Keck Award to Predict Protein Mutation Outcomes

Canine Chemotherapy Trials pic

KU Medical Center
Image: kumc.edu

After earning her medical degree from Creighton University, Dr. Christie Mensch completed postdoctoral training at the University of Kansas (KU). To give back to her alma mater, Christie Mensch has provided financial support to the KU Medical Center, which remains a major research center.

The hospital is poised to emerge as a leader in the field of personalized medicine thanks to a $1 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation that will let researchers develop new rules to predict how mutations in amino acids change the function of proteins. Genes code for specific proteins that in turn perform the functions of the cell. Proteins are built from strands of amino acids and the ultimate shape and function of the protein is determined by the sequence of amino acids. Mutations can cause the shape and function of a protein to radically change.

Currently, scientists have few tools to predict how mutations will alter the function of a protein. Computer algorithms designed to predict functional outcomes of mutations are correct only about 50 percent of the time. Conserved positions, meaning positions that have not been altered by evolution, follow a specific set of mutation rules, but a new set of rules needs to be written for nonconserved positions that have been altered by evolution. The KU researchers will use the Keck grant to study nonconserved positions in three different structural classes to create a library that can be used to derive new rules about the outcomes of mutations.