Ana Kelly de Almeida

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is essentially characterized by the development of symptoms after exposure to one or more traumatic events, can their clinical presentation, which includes both psychological and physiological components, vary among individuals, which exhibit different combinations symptomatic patterns explained on criteria that are revived in various ways. This feature puts psychobiology an important place in the construction of knowledge of this disorder due to their focus of study cover the functions and psychological and behavioral activities and biological processes associated. In the contemporary world, it has become increasing violence in urban centers, with the occurrence of burglary and robbery followed by death. In this context, there has been an environment in which PTSD has been diagnosed more frequently. However, studies on the impact of such violence on the mental health of these individuals are still scarce. There are several approaches and therapeutic techniques for dealing with shock trauma, including the Somatic Experiencing (SE), focused on addressing the symptoms of chronic stress and post-traumatic stress, developed by Peter Levine for over 45 years and having as axes guiding the ethology and neuroscience. On the other hand, one of the study propositions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) as a component of behavioral response begat Stephen Porges Polivagal theory that has helped to explain the autonomic changes observed during SE sessions, showing up as an enlightening model of physiological responses that can accompany the alterations in PTSD. In this context, the general objective of this project is to investigate the clinical symptoms and biological markers associated with the intervention using the SE technique in the treatment of PTSD in assault victims in the city of Natal, and validate a structured questionnaire based on DSM-V in manual update of reason in 2013. This research has the potential for important way to increase the knowledge of causal mechanisms underlying the mind-body relationship.

The Laboratory of Behavioral Endocrinology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte was created in 1996 to study the interactions between hormones and behavior. Previously we were involved in the study of reproductive strategies in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) a small Neotropical primate native from this geographical region of Brazil. The studies were developed in both captive and free-ranging animals and found sex biased behavioral expression as well as dimorphic cortisol secretion. We also characterize some aspects of the chronobiology of social behaviors in reproductive pairs and litters and prolactin participation in paternal behavior. Currently we are involved with two main lines of interest in hormones and behavior interactions:

(i) In common marmosets we remain investigating aspects of sex differences in stress response system in the perspective of extended the use of this experimental model in mental disorders investigation as well as the association between hormones and cognition, with focus on brain asymmetry.

(ii) In humans we are investigating the relationship between hormones and cognition, and the profile of biological markers (hormonal, immunological and/or autonomic) present in mental (post-traumatic stress disorder- PTSD) and pain chronic syndrome (fibromyalgia).