Research Mentor(s): Elizabeth Duval, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Psychiatry, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 2 (11am – 11:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 13
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Fibromyalgia (FM) are serious psychiatric conditions that are characterized by fear modulation deficits, which is the inability to accurately differentiate fear context from non-threatening context. The exact underlying mechanism of how these processes are impaired is not yet known. Our research looks to learn more about these mechanisms in PTSD and FM by looking at various physiological responses in individuals with PTSD or Fibromyalgia along with healthy controls while they underwent fear-based learning. Specifically, we are looking at reactivity to extinction recall and fear renewal, which are two processes involved in being able to shift a fear response between different stimuli as their threat levels change. We are working with Skin-Conductance Response data (SCR), which is the electrical conductivity of the skin that varies based on emotional arousal. SCR data is a good indicator of one’s fear response, and we are specifically looking at event-related SCRs that are in response to extinction recall and fear renewal cues. We are using the Acqknowledge 5.0 software to clean the data and identify meaningful responses. Once we have cleaned and analyzed the data, we will look to identify any differences in the SCRs of patients with and without PTSD and Fibromyalgia in responses to the fear response stimuli. This will help us build our understanding of the neurocognitive mechanisms affected by these diseases and potentially treat patients more effectively.