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ScienceDaily (Jun. 4, 2008) — Healthy adults who were close to the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, have less gray matter in key emotion centers of their brains compared with people who were more than 200 miles away, finds a new Cornell study.
"This suggests that really bad experiences may have lasting effects on the brain, even in healthy people," said Barbara Ganzel, the study's lead researcher and postdoctoral fellow at Cornell's College of Human Ecology.
The study -- one of the first to look at the effects of trauma on the brains of healthy adults -- is published in the April issue of Neurolmage. It follows a Cornell study by the same authors that found people living near the World Trade Center on 9/11 have brains that are more reactive to such emotional stimuli as photographs of fearful faces. Combined, the two studies provide an emerging picture of what happens in the brains of healthy people who experience a traumatic event.