Gu Jun remained motionless as the bed moved into the machine. He cleared his mind for the device to record his brain when it was in relaxed mode. In front of the control panel that was situated in the front room, Prof Ma and Prof Shen studied the images that popped up on the monitors. Gu Jun's brain oxygenation level appeared in the images but only the professionals could understand the meaning of the difference in color and intensity of the different voxels. Even Cai Zixuan did not grasp it fully, much less Wu Siyu.

    "Ah Jun's current state is perfectly normal." Prof Shen informed them. After they had enough control samples, Prof Shen told Gu Jun through the speaker, "Ah Jun, we'll start the stimulus tests now. The stimulus will go from light to intense. First, I will list out the terms of various abnormal elements, listen to them carefully. If you feel any headache, do not resist it. Scream to inform us about the intensity of the pain but if the pain gets too much, you have to tell us so that we can stop the examination immediately."

    "Okay." Gu Jun replied, "Prof Ma, you can start now."

    Prof Ma did as he promised, going through the terms one by one, "Spells, Deep One, Malformed Banyan Disease..." As Prof Ma spoke, the color intensity of the brain imaging brightened immediately. Gu Jun's brain activity was coming alive. "Mutated Skin Disease, Ritual, Dagon, Tian Yi..." The color became brighter and brighter. It pulled at everyone's hearts.

    "Ah!" Gu Jun suddenly groaned in pain. The latent pain in his mind intensified into a drastic pounding. It caused his limbs to go rigid. That was the result that they wanted and the purpose of this examination. The machine compared the imaging of Gu Jun's brain scan in this state and his relaxed state. The anomalous voxels were marked out in the monitors. Prof Shen glanced through them and immediately frowned. He explained to Wu Siyu and Cai Zixuan, "The prefrontal lobe, corpus amygdaloideum and hippocampus show clear increased blood flow." Cai Zixuan could not help but sigh as he scratched at his bald head. This was definitely not a good sign...

    Cai Zixuan studied some journals on PTSD before he arrived. One of the main research results about PTSD imaging did discover functional anomalies in the patient's prefrontal lobe, corpus amygdaloideum and hippocampus. The pathological theory proffered was named the 'prefrontal lobe-amygdala-hippocampus circuit'. To elaborate, it was the functional weakening of the prefrontal lobe that caused the attenuation in the adjustment and control ability of the amygdala, increasing the latter's sensitivity towards terror. The damage to the hippocampus caused an imbalance in the connection between the patient's prefrontal lobe and amygdala as well as affect the patient's retention of certain memory. Tycoon Jun's fMRI imaging presented a classic case of this problem. During the battle at the island, Tycoon Jun suffered cerebral hemorrhage at his right prefrontal lobe. It would appear like it was that damage and the corresponding surgeries, causing the destruction of his prefrontal lobe's function that was the source to Gu Jun's PTSD problems.

    "Ah Jun, we will now increase the stimulus. I want you to think back to what happened on Isla Salas y Gomez." Prof Ma added, "But do stop if you can't stand it anymore, do not push yourself."

    Gu Jun obliged. The pain threatened to cross his threshold and his breathing turned into panting. Finally came the most intense task. The nurse posted beside the fMRI machine handed him a set of files. They contained pictures of the bodies of Deep Ones as well as pictures of Malformed Banyan Disease's victims. Gu Jun only took a glimpse at 2 of them before his brain reacted with such intense pain that his whole body convulsed involuntarily. He immediately closed his eyes to sever the connection. The task ended then. However, Gu Jun still could not leave the bed. The machine would continue to record his brain oxygenation level as he reverted to his normal state.

    In the other room, as Prof Ma and Prof Shen studied the comparisons on the monitors, their faces darkened...

    When Gu Jun pictured traumatic scenarios, the blood flow continued to increase; but when he was given visual stimulus of the actual scenario, there was a drastic change to his hemodynamics, and it was not limited to the three locations of prefrontal lobe, amygdala and hippocampus. Instead it affected the whole brain. This biological reaction was more intense than a normal PTSD victim. Furthermore this kind of rapid blood circulation in the brain was extremely dangerous for it could cause accumulation of blood pressure and thus led to rupture of cerebral blood vessels. Considering Gu Jun's medical history, this level of reaction was more than enough to claim his life.

    "This is really not optimistic..." Prof Shen mumbled. He was not a pessimistic person but the discovery was crushing. After Gu Jun left the lab and saw the expression of their faces, he knew the situation was not good. When he studied the imaging result, he felt lost. 'A functional abnormality caused by damage to the prefrontal lobe? That is notoriously hard to treat...'

    "Dirty-minded Jun." Wu Siyu patted him on his shoulders, "You were in a coma half a month ago, I'm sure this is just a phase."

    "Of course." Gu Jun nodded at her before turning to Prof Ma, "Prof Ma, I wish to conduct both MRI and MRS tests to have a more complete profile."

    MRI or magnetic resonance imaging is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body; While MRS or Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy is a non-invasive diagnostic test for measuring biochemical changes in the brain. Both of these tests could gauge the size and possible damage to the patient's hippocampus. These two tests involved radioactive scans so the professors did not intend to use them in consideration of Gu Jun's physical conditions.

    But since Gu Jun personally requested for them, after Prof Ma and Prof Shen discussed it, they agreed to his request. However, they demanded that Gu Jun rest in the lab for 3 hours first before the test could be conducted. Gu Jun's MRI imaging showed a shrunken hippocampus, his cornu temporale ventriculi lateralis expanded but the grooves of his hippocampus disappeared. The MRS result concurred with that finding. His hippocampus released a conspicuous lack of neurological signals.

    After that, Gu Jun conducted other tests like a blood test to check his Brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF level. Researches showed that patients with PTSD had lower BDNF levels compared to normal individuals. Gu Jun's result came back to reflect that. His BDNF level dropped drastically compared to his previous physical examination. Phecda also had its own research that showed that people with high spirituality had higher BDNF levels than normal and they suspected it might be the source of one's spirituality.

    So Gu Jun appeared to not only have lost his high spirituality but also suffered from endourological symptoms common in PTSD patients.

    When all these test results were placed together, Prof Ma and Prof Shen knew the answer... there had been an irreversible structural change to Gu Jun's brain.

    "Ah Jun, go back and rest. Do not think about it, we will definitely come up with the best solution for your problem." Prof Shen consoled in forced levity as he escorted the trio out of his lab. Then Prof Ma and Prof Shen retired to the conference room next door for a long-distance meeting. Elder Tong, Yao Sinian as well as the leader of Phecda himself were waiting for these test results.
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