Researchers will Examine the Utøya Survivors

Researchers in both Bergen and Oslo will investigate whether Utøya survivors may have had any changes in their brain due to trauma, writes newspaper Bergens Tidende.

In one of the research projects that will take place at Haukeland University Hospital, the survivors between 16 and 25 years from Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane and Rogaland will be MR-examined in a sophisticated MRI machine.

Rikshospitalet in Oslo will also conduct a similar study, organized by the University of Oslo.

– Many of Utøya-youngsters have experienced cognitive difficulties, such as concentration and memory problems. We want to identify any difficulties on multiple levels to see if the trauma and stress they are subjected to, have given changes in parts of the brain, explains Anne Marita Milde, Department of Biological Psychology at the University of Bergen.

According to Milde, this chronic stress condition may have effects on the body’s hormone systems, which in turn affects brain function. This may go beyond memory, concentration and learning ability problems, writes ANB.

Around 500 Utøya-survivors have got invitation to participate in these studies. Young politicians of other two Norwegian parties (Liberals and Conservatives) were also invited to participate in a control group, writes the newspaper. 

About Utøya Massacre

The 2011 Norway attacks were two sequential terrorist attacks by the far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik against the government, the civilian population and Labor Party Youth organization (AUF)-run summer camp in Norway on 22 July 2011, claiming a total of 77 lives.

The Utøya massacre occurred at this summer camp on the island of Utøya in Tyrifjorden, Buskerud. The camp was organized by the AUF, the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labour Party (AP). The convicted terrorist Breivik dressed in a homemade police uniform and showing false identification gained access to the island and subsequently opened fire at the participants, killing 69 of them, and injuring at least 110, 55 of them seriously; the 69th victim died in a hospital two days after the massacre. Among the dead were personal friends of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and the stepbrother of Norway’s crown princess Mette-Marit.

It was the deadliest attack in Norway since World War II, and a survey found that on average, 1 in 4 Norwegians knew “someone affected by the attacks”. 

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