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PTSD can be diagnosed with blood test, finds study

Posted on 09-06-2017 Posted in PTSD, Treatment - 3 Comments

Unrelieved stress or fearful feelings due to trauma can cause some people to suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As more and more people are grappling with PTSD across the globe, increasing number of researchers are busy looking for new and effective ways of treating the disorder that affects nearly 3.5 percent of the adult American population in any given year.

Now, a group of researchers from the Maastricht University, the Netherlands, suggests how people with PTSD can show modifications in their blood-based microRNA (miRNA) molecules that may be due to genetic regulation. The researchers discovered it while looking at genetic markers among military personnel stationed in the war zone in Afghanistan and said the same could be a useful tool to diagnose persons affected with PTSD in the future. The revelations by the scientists will help in an in-depth understanding of the disorder and other psychological problems that may be related to traumatic experiences. The findings of the study were unveiled at the 30th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress held in Paris from Sept. 2-5, 2017.

Assessing blood samples of PTSD patients

The researchers observed 24 Dutch soldiers and employees of the Ministry of Defense to examine the nature and extent of genetic changes among those afflicted with PTSD. The authors had collected blood samples from the soldiers before their deployment in Afghanistan and then six months after they had returned. Most of the respondents had experienced traumatic incidents and had developed PTSD. Among the 24 participants, eight exhibited symptoms of PTSD, while there were eight others who despite having witnessed traumatic episodes did not get affected with the disorder. The rest did not develop manifestations of the disorder, as they had not experienced traumatic events of any kind.

The researchers used modern sequencing methods to pinpoint the various kinds of miRNAs in the different groups. Findings indicated how those suffering from PTSD exhibited distinctions in the various miRNA levels. The first author of the study Dr. Laurence de Nijs elaborated how these small molecules differ in their levels in the blood of respondents with PTSD when compared with those who suffered traumatic experiences, but did not develop the disorder.

The study found differences in 40 microRNA molecules in servicemen who had suffered trauma and developed PTSD compared to soldiers who had not fought. Soldiers who experienced trauma but did not get PTSD had differences in only 27 molecules. Significantly, miRNA can be found in the blood and a blood test could detect the abnormalities.

Based on the observations, the scientists revealed how variations in miRNAs could help predict who were more susceptible to suffering from PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event. Though more research is required in the field, development of this technique could pave the way for further understanding of PTSD and the treatment methods involved. Currently, most psychologists recommend a combination of medical and behavioral interventions for treating PTSD.

Road to recovery

Any kind of traumatic experience or fearful episode can result in PTSD. It is a very complicated disorder and its effects can be disastrous if not treated timely. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 60 percent of the men and 50 percent of women experience at least one trauma in their daily lives and about 8 million adult Americans develop PTSD during a given year.

Sovereign Health understands how difficult it may be to undergo persistent nightmares and fears. With the aim to reduce emotional and physical symptoms, and help patients cope with trauma, our post-traumatic stress disorder treatment center in Florida offers a holistic combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological modalities. If you or your loved one is suffering from PTSD and is looking to connect with the best center providing treatment of PTSD near you, call our 24/7 helpline number today. You can also chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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