Nagy Danny G. Kaloupek Fred D. Gusman Dennis S. Charney Terence M. Blevins Frank W. Weathers Margaret T.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder News and Research
Davis Tracy K. Witte Jessica L.
Kilpatrick Heidi S. Resnick Melissa E. Milanak Mark W. Miller Katherine M. Keyes Matthew J. Recent issues. Tools Submit an Article Browse free sample issue Get content alerts. Subscribe to this journal. It will evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, tolerability, and safety of the bacterium, perhaps in an injected form, to treat PTSD. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for emotions and mood regulation.
The study , led by investigators from the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and the University of Illinois at Chicago, showed that patients who showed the most improvement from receiving SSRIs were those who showed the least activation of a brain area called the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex before their treatment—even though that area of the brain was not the exact area that appeared to be affected by the treatment. The authors cautioned that further research is needed to help delineate whether these findings are due to differences in PTSD severity, psychiatric comorbidity, or the independent effects of psychotropic medications on cognitive decline.
They found PTSD symptoms can be significantly improved in Veterans who receive prompt mental health care. Veterans who sought and received care soon after the end of their service had lower levels of PTSD a year after they initiated care. For each year that a Veteran waited to initiate treatment, there was about a 5 percent increase in the odds of PTSD symptoms either not improving or worsening. The research team looked at 33 studies published between and Some of these studies included hundreds of thousands of Veterans, while others were conducted on a smaller scale.
The team said their new results should be interpreted with caution because of methodological differences among the existing studies and other limitations, including the fact that most studies included only Veterans enrolled in VA health care, which may skew their estimates upward. Autoimmune disorders— A study of more than , Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan found that those with PTSD were more likely to have autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. The study, led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, found a twofold increased risk of such disorders among those with PTSD compared with those who had no psychiatric disorders, and an even greater risk compared with those who had other psychiatric disorders than PTSD.
Other autoimmune disorders these Veterans were at increased risk of developing included multiple sclerosis, lupus, inflammation of the thyroid, and inflammatory bowel disease. The study did not show that PTSD causes autoimmune disease, only that there is a relationship between the two conditions. Sleep apnea— Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Sleep apnea warning signs include snoring and choking, gasping, and silent breathing pauses during sleep.
Every clinically significant increase in the severity of PTSD symptoms was associated with a 40 percent increase in the probability of being at high risk for sleep apnea. Using clinical questionnaires to evaluate both levels of PTSD and the likelihood of sleep apnea, they found that This was despite the fact that many of them did not have a high body mass index or high blood pressure, considered classic predictors of sleep apnea. VA and DoD researchers are probing dozens of risk factors, from biological to behavioral, that may affect the abilities of service members to withstand emotional stress.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
In , Marine Resiliency Study researchers learned that traumatic brain injury during a deployment was by far the strongest predictor of post-deployment PTSD symptoms in service members and Veterans. It was far more significant than prior traumatic brain injuries or the intensity of combat they experienced. The researchers found that risky behaviors such as dangerous alcohol or drug use, drunken driving, gambling, and aggression were common among these Veterans, and that such behaviors were tied both to other PTSD symptoms and to experiencing other potentially traumatic events that could lead to worse symptoms in the future.
These findings suggest that many Veterans with PTSD continue to experience stressful events that may prolong or worsen their PTSD symptoms, even years after the initial trauma. One, by researchers at the Ralph H. As a group, Veterans are at especially high risk for developing heart disease. According to a article by two researchers with the VA San Francisco Health Care System, numerous population-based studies have shown that people with PTSD are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease CVD and to die from it, and that the risk of developing heart disease is equally problematic for both men and women.
According to the article, there is strong evidence that patients with PTSD have a greater burden of fatty deposits in their arteries and reduced blood flow to the heart that can lead to CVD events. PTSD a 'fast track' to cardiovascular disease? One such study , published in , suggested that PTSD might be a fast track to developing premature cardiovascular disease, and examined the changes in the body PTSD causes that might be responsible for this association. Another study looked at Veterans at two VA facilities, and found that Veterans with PTSD were more likely to have reduced blood flow to the heart, or ischemia.
After adjusting for factors known to influence heart disease, the researchers found that PTSD was associated with more than double the risk for ischemia—and the more severe the PTSD symptoms were, the greater the risk. About 21 percent of the total study group had a diagnosis of PTSD. Of the cases of heart failure that occurred during the study, occurred among those with PTSD, whereas only 84 cases occurred among the group without PTSD. According to the study's authors, this was the first large-scale longitudinal study to report an association between PTSD and heart failure in an outpatient sample of U.
This condition, called endothelial dysfunction, has been linked to heart disease. The investigators used a standard test called flow-mediated dilation FMD to gauge how well an artery in the arm relaxes and expands in response to the squeezing of a blood pressure cuff. The researchers concluded that chronic stress may impact the health of blood vessels—a possible explanation for the higher heart disease risk among Veterans with PTSD. Nearly two decades ago, researchers with VA and other institutions reported on a gene that appeared to be linked to schizophrenia. A similar process is underway for PTSD.
The study included some billion pieces of genetic information from more than 20, adults throughout the world. The researchers claim their results demonstrate genetic influences on the development of PTSD, identify shared genetic risks between PTSD and other psychiatric disorders, and highlight the importance of multiethnic and multiracial samples. According to the researchers, even larger samples are needed to hone in on the specific genes that may be linked to the disorder. SKA2 gene may predict risk— Biomarkers are measurable indicators of health and disease.
The research team performed magnetic resonance imaging brain scans and examined blood samples from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans whose health information is part of a database maintained by VA's Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders. They found that a chemical change, called methylation, had switched off the function of the SKA2 gene in some of those Veterans. This change in brain chemistry was correlated with decreases in the thickness of the prefrontal cortex, and with greater PTSD severity.
The research team emphasizes that more research is needed to better understand the associations they observed between SKA2 status, cortical thickness, and PTSD severity.
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Nonetheless, they suggest that in the future it may be possible to use genetic blood tests to help assess the susceptibility of service members for combat-related PTSD. The researchers tested blood samples from 58 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. The team hopes their study will eventually result in a simple blood test to help diagnose the two issues in Veterans. Mindfulness meditation —In , a study of mindfulness meditation therapy found that it was modestly more successful than standard group therapy in treating PTSD.
In the study, researchers with the Minneapolis VA Health Care System gave 58 Veterans nine sessions of mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy. This type of therapy focuses on teaching patients to attend to the present moment in a nonjudgmental, accepting manner.
Another 58 Veterans received nine weekly group therapy sessions focused on current life problems. Two months after the sessions were completed, nearly half The study is scheduled to be completed in Yoga — Researchers with the Atlanta VA Medical and Rehab Center are studying whether women Veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma can benefit from a form of "trauma-sensitive" yoga that may be able to reduce PTSD symptoms, chronic pain, and insomnia.
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Spirituality— A study by researchers with the VA Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention in Canandaigua, New York, found that, in Veterans with PTSD, those who did not participate regularly in spiritual practices, were angry at a higher power, or felt they had fallen short of religious expectations were more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those who had positive thoughts about religion and religious practices. The team hopes, in the future, to conduct a randomized control trial to compare current psychotherapy approaches such as CPT and PE with one that incorporates a spiritual element.
The therapy would be voluntary and would incorporate the patient's own religion and religious texts. It is time to address the crisis in the pharmacotherapy of posttraumatic stress disorder: a consensus statement of the PTSD psychopharmacology working group. Recommendations for dealing with the crisis in the area of drug treatment for PTSD are discussed. Biol Psychiatry, Oct 1; 82 7 :ee Stress-related mental health symptoms in Coast Guard: incidence, vulnerability, and neurocognitive performance. Rates of PTSD and major depressive disorder are comparable among Coast Guard personnel serving boat stations to those of larger military services following deployment.
Front Psychol. Dentate gyrus abnormalities are associated with symptoms of PTSD. About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year.
This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma. Department of Veterans Affairs. Donna Morrissey invests in brain and behavior research hoping for development of better diagnostic tools for people, like her son, living with mental Allen Zeitlin is a third year med student at Michigan State University in Grand Rapids, with interests in psychiatry and neurology.
This has a lot to Our operating expenses are covered by separate foundation grants. Eating Disorders. Mental Illness General. Suicide Prevention. Other Brain-Related Illnesses. Basic Research.
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