Genes and Childhood Trauma Predict Adult PTSD in Soliders

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These findings are significant for the study of the physiology of PTSD, for the treatment and prevention of stress-related illnesses, and may have implications for treating pain, which has also been linked to the ADRB2 gene.

This is the first report of genetic risk factors for PTSD in National Guard soldiers and adds to the developing evidence base on the role of genetic influences in PTSD…

“We found strong evidence that the ADRB2 gene SNP (defined as Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) was associated with PTSD in our group of male soldiers who were predominantly of European American ancestry…Of particular note is the finding that the identical interaction took place in the control group of civilians. Together these outcomes suggest that the ADRB2 gene interacts with childhood adversity and either result in a vulnerability or resilience to developing PTSD symptoms following adult trauma.”

… having two or more types of childhood adversity may represent a different childhood experience during critical developmental periods…“However, our findings that the ADRB2 factor might be shared by men and women, African Americans and European Americans, and military and civilians is consistent with the idea that some genetic risk factors for PTSD might be common across populations and even shared by other stress-related disorders, such as depression.”

“This suggests that genetic variance in interaction with childhood trauma alone can influence adult PTSD symptom severity,”

“By understanding how PTSD develops, we are better positioned to employ effective prevention and intervention strategies in the military and beyond,” said Israel Liberzon, MD, University of Michigan Professor of Psychiatry and first author of the study. “With these data, we will help patients suffering from the strains of PTSD earlier on, and prevent unnecessary pain, suffering and stress.”

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