Post Traumatic Stress Disorder could have a genetic trigger

New research that has recently been published in the Journal of Affective Disorders has found that people with a particular gene variation are at greater risk of experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

A team of researchers at the University of California examined the DNA of 200 participants from 12 families who survived the, 7.1 magnitude, earthquake in Armenian, in December 1988.

The earthquake hit the north of Armenia, which at the time was part of the Soviet Union. It was a deadly earthquake reported to have killed more than 25,000 people, with survivors viewing the trauma of seeing the events unfold in front of their eyes.

The participants of the research study had all experienced the earthquake first hand. It was reported that 90 percent of them had seen dead bodies and 92 percent witnessed people with serious injuries.

Gene variants TPH1 and TPH2 affect the production of serotonin, the hormone in the brain known to be involved with the control of mood and behaviour. The study found that participants who had these two gene variants were more likely to display symptoms of PTSD .

The research group propose a similar study on a larger scale in order to confirm their findings. They believe this could lead to new means of screening trauma victims for their risk of developing PTSD. Additionally, the study could prove useful in the development of new medications to specifically target these gene variants.

However, the gene variant reported in the research only account for all PTSD symptoms that that victims experienced. This means that this gene variant is not the only factor predetermining whether a trauma victim will subsequently suffer from PTSD.

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