University of California-Irvine
Irvine, California – United States
For the past 25 years my program of research has focused on identifying early predictors of trauma-related health problems that can be targeted for secondary interventions to prevent the morbidity and mortality associated with trauma exposure. My emphasis is on early trauma-related cognitive, emotional, social and physiological processes that explain how psychological trauma affects mental and physical health problems. My research has sought to understand this connection with the ultimate goal of finding physiologic targets for early interventions to prevent these mentally and physically disabling outcomes. To examine these relationships more carefully, I conducted two new, methodologically unique studies. First, I collected saliva from respondents in my large population-based 9/11 study to examine genetic susceptibilities to mental and physical health problems after 9/11. Then I collaborated with an internationally renowned researcher to design a laboratory study that tested the physiologic impact of acute psychological trauma on different parts of the body, especially the heart. My publications from these studies extend prior work on health correlates of central stress response system dysfunction (HPA axis and sympathetic nervous system) by documenting associations between several physiologic systems (renin-angiotensin aldosterone, oxytocin, HPA axis, and endocannabinoid) and both mental and physical health outcomes.
Friday, November 8
9:45 AM – 11:00 AM