Contextual Processing Deficits in PTSD and Fibromyalgia – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Contextual Processing Deficits in PTSD and Fibromyalgia

Melina Settineri

Melina Settineri

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Research Mentor(s): Elizabeth Duval, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Psychiatry, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 1 (10am-10:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 12
Presenter: 7

Event Link


Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have difficulty differentiating between safe and threatening contexts. Not only do individuals with PTSD suffer from a biased fear response, but individuals with Fibromyalgia (FM) which is highly comorbid with PTSD have a similar trait. In this study, we examined the deficits of PTSD and FM in their reaction to extinction recall and fear renewal by measuring Skin Conductance Response (SCR). On Day 1, subjects are conditioned to an unconditioned stimulus (i.e., electrical current) with a conditioned stimulus (e.g., blue light) in a neutral context (e.g., office). This was followed by extinction learning where they should recognize that the blue light presented in a living room does not induce an electrical shock. On Day 2, these subjects undergo extinction recall to determine how much they react in a non-threatening context (e.g., blue light in the living room) while also undergoing fear renewal to measure reactivity to a threatening context (e.g., blue light in the office). SCR is utilized as a reliable physiological indicator of one’s fear response during these scenarios. The SCR data from both PTSD and FM individuals have been cleaned and analyzed using AcqKnowledge 5.0 software program. The outcome of SCR data will be compared to each other, as well as to healthy controls. There are no tangible results as of now due to the project being slowed because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, but we hope to see that through testing the fear modulation paradigm, we can further our understanding of the differences between PTSD and FM patients versus healthy controls in their reactivity to extinction recall and fear renewal.

Authors: Melina Settineri, Elizabeth Duval, Hanjoo Kim
Research Method: Clinical Research

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