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Sleep and Emotional Trauma: The PTSD Connection

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – To what extent does sleep help people process stress and trauma? A recent study by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of Zurich set out to address this question. As reported by PsychCentral, the investigators discovered that sleep—especially during the first 24 hours after a trauma—appears to play a key role in helping individuals manage the emotional impact of the event. This knowledge, notes PsychCentral, is highly relevant for experts focused on the prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It also is important for developing improved treatments targeting sleep to relieve overall PTSD symptoms for those who already have PTSD.

As reported by PsychCentral, the Zurich researchers showed a group of individuals a traumatic video and instructed them to record in a diary their recurring memories of the film over the next few days, mimicking the flashbacks of trauma associated with PTSD. During the first 24 hours, the group was split into two: one subgroup slept in the lab for the night, with their sleep recorded via an electroencephalograph (EEG); the other subgroup remained awake. Those who slept after the video were found to have fewer and less-distressing recurring emotional memories than those who did not sleep. This supports the assumption that sleep may have a protective effect in the aftermath of traumatic experiences, the researchers reported.

Sad woman suffering from insomnia“Increasing evidence of the benefits of sleep following trauma suggests improved sleep is a promising approach to develop better treatment for PTSD, both in the general population and among military service members,” says Seth Lederman, MD, the CEO of Tonix Pharmaceuticals, which is developing innovative pharmaceutical products to address public health challenges, with its lead program focusing on PTSD. “Work is now being done to determine the extent to which better sleep can in fact address a slew of PTSD symptoms in military populations.”

To protect the subjects’ identities and confidential medical information, the study organizers have obtained a Certificate of Confidentiality from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to ensure patients’ identities are shielded from all persons not connected with this clinical research project. The holder of this Certificate of Confidentiality may not be compelled in any Federal, state, or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative or other proceedings to identify the research subjects.

To see if you or someone you know is pre-qualified to participate in this research study, please access the study website on this ongoing research study, TheHonorStudy.com, and learn more about it at https://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT03062540. The HONOR study is open to veterans or those currently serving in any branch of the military or as a military contractor.

Currently there are no satisfactory approved drug treatments for military-related PTSD. The investigational new drug used in the HONOR study represents a new approach to treating the condition. While symptoms of PTSD may improve or worsen while taking part in this study, participation will provide information about the study drug, a new approach to treating PTSD, that might benefit others with the condition in the future.

* TNX-102 SL is an investigational new drug and has not been approved for any indication.

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