Newsletter Excerpts: 8 New Studies and 1 tidbit on PTSD and trauma--Jun 2023

Michelle Burns
June 13, 2023

Here is some of the information I recently shared in the June newsletter. Each newsletter has a specific focus.  This newsletter is focused on PTSD and trauma. This is the final newsletter on this topic. If you would be interested in receiving my other newsletters, which include links to the studies as well as special offers and sales coupons, please head over to my contact page and sign up.


  1. Emotional numbing in PTSD with lower reactivity to pain
  2. Forgetting of trauma-like event after hydrocortisone
  3. PTSD stress symptoms relationship to chronic pain
  4. Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy for treatment-resistant PTSD
  5. Effects of diet low in excitotoxins on PTSD
  6. Melatonin alleviates PTSD-like behaviors and restores serum GABA
  7. Comparing Service dogs vs Emotional support dogs
  8. PTSD-induced inflammation impacts cardiac homeostatsis


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing part 1: theory, procedure, and use in PTSD


1. A research paper, titled Emotional numbing in PTSD is associated with lower amygdala reactivity to pain, published in Neuropsychopharacology in Aug 2022 concludes: …the PTSD group showed a robust reduction in amygdala reactivity to shock compared to the control group. Furthermore, amygdala activation was negatively correlated with emotional numbing severity. These patterns were unique to the amygdala, and did not appear in comparison to a control region, the insula, a pivotal region for the processing of pain. To conclude, amygdala response to pain is lower in individuals with PTSD, and is associated with emotional numbing symptoms. Lower amygdala reactivity to mild pain may contribute to the “all-or-none” reaction to stressful situations often observed in PTSD.

2.  A study titled Accelerated forgetting of a trauma-like event in healthy men and women after a single dose of hydrocortisone, published in Translational Psychiatry in Aug 2022, concludes: …participants receiving hydrocortisone showed a faster reduction in daily intrusion frequency. Voluntary memory was assessed once, at the end of the week, but was unaffected by hydrocortisone Exploratory analyses indicated sex-dependent associations between intrusions and baseline estradiol and progesterone levels. In men given hydrocortisone, higher baseline estradiol levels were associated with fewer intrusions, whereas women exhibited the opposite pattern. By contrast, progesterone levels were positively associated with intrusions only in men treated with hydrocortisone. The finding suggests that hydrocortisone promotes an accelerated degradation of sensory-perceptual representation underlying traumatic intrusive memories. In addition, while sex alone was not an important moderator, the combination of sex and sex-hormone levels influenced hydrocortisone’s effects on involuntary aversive memories

3. A study titled The role of post-trauma stress symptoms in the development of chronic musculoskeletal pain and disability: a systematic review, published in European Journal of Pain in Oct 2022 concludes: Findings support a clear relationship between PTSD post-injury and future pain/disability with the potential importance of certain PTSD clusters (hyper-arousal and numbing).

4. A study titled Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Veterans with Treatment-resistant PTSD: A longitudinal Follow-up Study, published in Military Medicine in November 2022 concludes: the beneficial clinical effects of HBOT are persistent and were not attenuated at long-term follow-up of about 2 years after completion of HBOT. Additional long-term effects of the treatment were observed in social function and in decreased medication use.

5. A research article titled Effects of a diet low in excitotoxins on PTSD symptoms and related biomarkers published in Nutritional Neuroscience in Dec 2022 concludes: while no serum biomarkers significantly changed post-diet (low glutamate), cortisol increased as dietary excitotoxin consumption decreased…reduced dietary excitotoxin consumption was also associated with reduced hyperarousal symptoms. Cortisol increase was associated with reduced avoidance symptoms…

6. A study titled Melatonin alleviates PTSD-like behaviors and restores serum GABA and cortisol levels in mice, published in Psychopharmacology in Jan 2023 concluded: melatonin has a potential therapeutic effect on PTSD-like symptoms and melatonin receptor 1 mediated the effect.

7.  A study titled Therapeutic and Economic Benefits of Service Dogs versus Emotional Support Dogs for Veterans with PTSD, published in Psychiatric Services in Jan 2023 concludes: both groups appeared to benefit from having a service or emotional support dog. No significant differences in improved functioning or quality of life were observed between the groups. Those in the service dog group had a greater reduction in PTSD symptoms and better antidepressant adherence.

8.  A study titled PTSD-induced inflammation negatively impacts cardiac homeostasis, published in Physiology in May 2023 concludes: PTSD-induced cardiac stress is leading to macrophage recruitment and cardiac fibrosis which likely over time will lead to deterioration of myocardial function.


An article titled Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: part 1 - theory, procedure and use in PTSD, published by Cambridge University Press in Jun 2022 “reviews the theory behind how EMDR works, how it is conducted, the evidence supporting its use in the treatment of PTSD and its approved indications and contraindications.”

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