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Blood Test Links PTSD with Genes


A new blood test could actually help you figure out if you’re genetically predisposed to post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

PTSD is most frequently linked with soldiers but can occur after many types of trauma, including rape, torture, child abuse, and car accidents. It’s estimated that about 13-million people in the United States struggle with PTSD on a regular basis. Studies have shown that women are twice as likely to develop the disorder.

Symptoms are serious. Someone with PTSD could have recurring nightmares in which whey relive their original trauma. PTSD sufferers might also withdraw from friends, family, and other loves ones or they may become angry very easily.

That’s why a simple blood test capable of showing an individual’s predisposition to PTSD may be very useful. Scientists studying mice have discovered that there may be links between our genes and our fear reactions. Those people born with less of the chemical that helps us get through a traumatic event may be more likely to experience PTSD. So far, studies have shown that heredity accounts for almost one-third of the difference in the way we handle trauma.

In search of solutions to PTSD, researchers recently studied blood samples from 188 Marines. The samples were taken before and after the Marines saw action.

The study’s co-author, Christopher Welk, says these tests allowed his team to “identify differences between U.S. Marines with PTSD and without” and will help them learn more about why some people develop PTSD and others do not.

“We’ll draw the blood and have a way to do this very rapidly and start to tease apart who is a little more at risk and who is a little more resilient for PTSD,” noted Dr. Dewleen Baker, who worked with Welk on the study.

“We’re early in the process of having some clues as to what might predict risk and resilience, and with more research we’ll begin to have effective preventions and treatments,” Baker added.

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