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U Penn researcher named one of the world’s most influential thinkers

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

A University of Pennsylvania Researcher has been named one of the “world’s most influential” people by Time Magazine.

Dr. Edna Foa is included in this year’s TIME 100, in the section on the world’s most important thinkers. Foa has spent her career investigating anxiety disorders and developing treatments for these disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr. Linda Welsh is director of the Anxiety Treatment Center in Bala Cynwd. She says Foa’s work shaped modern treatment of post traumatic stress:

Welsh: Rather than trying to forget the horror one might have faced one talks about it, even revisits the scene of the trauma if that is possible, and thus begins a desensitization process to it.

Foa says she was excited to hear the news, especially since psychologists don’t usually appear alongside celebrities and politicians on lists like this one. She says there is a lot of interest in stress after trauma right now because of returning soldiers, but really, this issue can affect anybody:

Foa: Everybody can be in the wrong time in the wrong place and become traumatized. And most people recover, and about 10 percent overall do not recover, and they are the ones who develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

Foa says she is working on ways to make treatment for PTSD even more effective and to distribute the information to as many practitioners as possible.

She is currently studying PTSD in soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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