Study to examine if imaging the morally injured brain could bring about better treatments
For more than 18 months our healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic with many experiencing mental health issues as a result.
One such concern for health care workers is moral injury, which is an injury to an individuals’ moral conscious, producing intense emotional guilt and shame.
Now a team of researchers from Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University are looking at how imaging the brain could help lead to better treatments.
“We are trying to look closely at what happens in the brain when a person recalls a moral injury event,” says Dr. Ruth Lanius with Lawson and Western.
“By understanding the changes happening in the brain, we may be better able to treat individuals suffering from moral injury.”
Lanius and her team will be working with about 60 health care workers in the new study.
Each participant undergoes a MRI scan at the start of the study.
Following eight weeks of treatment the participant will undergo another MRI scan to see how the moral injury changes and possibly resolves with treatment.
“I think once we help resolve the visceral distress, we will also see the negative thinking patterns settle down,” said Lanius.
She adds that seeing the injury in a scan can be validating for health care workers to physically see their injury.
The goal of the research team is to better understand what happens in the brain as it pertains to the moral injury.
“We have to help our health care workers heal from the tremendous hardships they often endure.”
Health care workers are still being recruited for this study. For information on the study follow this link.