The increase in the aging population in prisons points to the need for further research to understand the risk and resilience of older adults in prison to support human rights, health and well-being in the prison environment.
The goal of this article to to provide readers with a guide to the growing empirical literature concerning PTSD-related accelerated aging and the methodologies used to study it. 9 Pages. Last reviewed January 2017.
Trauma is a natural emotional reaction to terrible experiences that involve actual or threatened serious harm to oneself or others. However, for some people, the thoughts or memories of these events seriously affect their lives, long after any real danger has passed. This is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious anxiety disorder.
The study of human anxiety disorders has benefited greatly from functional neuroimaging approaches. Individual studies, however, vary greatly in their findings. The authors searched for common and disorder-specific functional neurobiological deficits in several anxiety disorders. The authors also compared these deficits to the neural systems engaged during anticipatory anxiety in healthy subjects.
The authors conducted a meta-analysis to summarize and integrate the literature on cognitive functioning of older adutls with PTSD. They hypothesized that those with PTSD would perform worse than those without PTSD. As predicted, evidence showed lower test scores in the broad domain of memory among the older adults with PTSD and there was evidence to suggest that trauma exposure is uniquely associated with worse performance on tests specific to learning. Their findings highlight the need for thorough evaluation of cognitive functioning in older adults with PTSD with special focus on the areas of processing speed, learning, memory and executive functioning.