New research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examining the association between a genetic variant associated with good emotional memory storage and chances of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The research that was conducted at the University of Basel, Switzerland combined an examination of behavioural genetics and functional neuro-imaging to examine the interaction between emotional memory processes and chances of developing symptoms in light of a traumatic experience or event.
The research was conducted in three parts. The first stage involved conducting DNA analysis from 700 healthy Swiss participants from looking for a particular variant of the PRKCA gene which is involved in the coding and storage of emotional Memories. Those participants, who showed the variant in question, then took part in the second stage. Functional neuro-imaging was used to establish the affect this gene variant had on brain networking and memory activation. The third phase examined Rwandan refugees who fled the 1994 civil war; their DNA coding was examined in relation to whether or not they had suffered from PTSD .
The researcher reported that the variant of the PRKCA gene was associated with a greater capacity to remember emotional events and experiences in the healthy volunteers. It was then found that of the Rwandan refugees who had all experienced hugely traumatic events during the civil war, those who had the genetic variant were twice as likely to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder .
This study could not only pave the way for new treatments but could also serve as a basis for potential preventative measures.