Gene Increases Susceptibility to Post-Traumatic Stress, Researchers Find

November 2, 2009,

(PhysOrg.com) -- A gene variant makes people who experienced trauma as children or adults more susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Yale researchers have found.

The study, published in the November edition of the , sheds light on how environmental forces and interact to make some people more prone to psychiatric diseases.

“This study helps us understand how genetic factors can contribute to vulnerability in different people,” said Joel Gelernter, senior author of the study and professor of psychiatry, genetics and neurobiology at the Yale School of Medicine.

Between 40 to 70 percent of Americans have experienced a traumatic event, yet only 8 percent develop PTSD. The Yale team studied more than 1,200 people who had reported experiencing childhood adversity and/or traumatic events as adults. The type of childhood adversity included physical and sexual abuse or neglect. Traumatic events in adulthood included combat, sexual assault and natural disasters. Researchers found the risk of PTSD significantly increased if adversity and trauma were experienced both as a child and an adult.

Previous studies of Vietnam veterans and other populations have shown that genetic factors account for about 30 percent of the risk for PTSD. The researchers looked at a particular variant, or allele, of the serotonin transporter gene, which was previously linked to an increased risk for depression in individuals who had experienced adverse events. People with this allele were more likely to develop PTSD if they had experienced childhood adversity or adult trauma.

The research team was led by Pingxing Xie, a graduate student in Gelernter’s lab. Scientists from the University of Connecticut, University of California-San Diego, Medical University of South Carolina-Charleston, Harvard University and Boston University also contributed to the study.

Provided by Yale University (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Modulating molecules: Study shows oxytocin helps the brain to modulate social signals

January 17, 2018
Between sights, sounds, smells and other senses, the brain is flooded with stimuli on a moment-to-moment basis. How can it sort through the flood of information to decide what is important and what can be relegated to the ...

Reducing sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy does not affect effectiveness

January 17, 2018
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients treated with as few as five sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy find it equally effective as receiving 12 sessions.

How past intentions influence generosity toward the future

January 17, 2018
Over time, it really is the thought that counts – provided we know what that thought was, suggests new research from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

Tracking the impact of early abuse and neglect

January 17, 2018
Children who experience abuse and neglect early in life are more likely to have problems in social relationships and underachieve academically as adults.

Study: No evidence to support link between violent video games and behaviour

January 16, 2018
Researchers at the University of York have found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.