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Investigator: Seth Norrholm
Phone: (404) 321-6111 ext. 204722
Primary Research Interest: Psychiatry
Description of Research: My projects represent an investigation of fear extinction and generalization in combat veterans returning from the theater of combat in the Global War on Terror. This includes studying female Veterans with a history of military sexual trauma (MST). We are studying fear processing in PTSD patients by examining (1) how well PTSD patients can extinguish learned fear and (2) the extent to which PTSD patients generalize their fear of specific trauma-related cues to when exposed to similar cues. Reduced fear extinction and stimulus over-generalization may represent risk factors for PTSD and, as such, may still be present in PTSD patients and evident experimentally. The third objective of this three-year study is to probe potential genetic biomarkers that govern one’s resilience versus risk for developing PTSD following combat trauma.
Relevance to VA: An improved understanding of the psychophysiological, genetic, and epigenetic mechanisms that underlie the risk and symptoms associated with combat PTSD will enable clinicians to tailor treatment strategies according to the individual needs of each soldier returning from combat.

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