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Dr. Margaret McKinnon, Research Scientist at St. Joe’s, was on her honeymoon when the plane had engine troubles causing it to divert its path, 14 years ago. The flight was scheduled from Toronto to Lisbon, when both engines on the plane shut down forcing a landing in Lajes Air Base. Dr. McKinnon stated that “the cabin then depressurized, the lights went out, we were wearing our oxygen masks and we were asked to brace for an emergency landing.” The plane had a rough landing and everyone walked away without physical harm. However, for many aboard the flight, including Dr. McKinnon, this caused PTSD and depression.

Occurrences like this help researchers to better understand trauma and PTSD. Dr. Brian Levine, Neuropsychologist at Baycrest Hospital, put eight passengers of Flight 236 in a brain scanner where they watched videos of the flight and other traumatic events like 9/11. Dr. Levine stated “the Air Transat disaster was associated with enhanced vividness so people were able to produce three times as many details than any other event, even 9/11.”  Researchers found there is a connection between the amount of control over a memory and PTSD, which in turn could help figure out who is more susceptible to PTSD, such as those in the military.

Watch the Global News Interview here:

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