Sunday, April 7, 2013

Gene Linked to PTSD

When referring to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, it is often said that not all wounds are visible.  PTSD is a debilitating disorder that quite literally destroys lives.  Trauma that initiates PTSD becomes so embedded in the mind of the person suffering from the disorder that it can lead to major depression, anxiety, insomnia, difficulty forming relationships, and even suicide.  But now, it has been discovered that there is indeed a genetic component to this disorder, which may eventually lead scientists to a cure.

According to Medical News Today, Ya-Ping Tang, MD, PhD, of New Orleans has found that a specific gene is critical to the adult-onset PTSD.  In particular, the action of this specific gene occurs during adolescent exposure to trauma.  This specific transgene has been identified as CCKR-2.

Not only is the original trauma significant to PTSD, but in most cases, a second stressor or "re-victimization" is essential to the development of this disorder.  In studies done with mice, original trauma and a second stressor were not enough on their own to cause PTSD.  However, with the introduction of CCKR-2, PTSD-like behavior was finally observed.

This identification of CCKR-2 and its significance in the development of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder have finally provided fresh hope for treatment of those who suffer from this life-altering condition.  Now that CCKR-2 is a known cofactor in the brain that coincides with adolescent trauma, it is possible for scientists to prevent and even cure PTSD by developing a way to block the reception of the neurotransmitter CCKR-2.  By doing so, generations could be spared the intense agony that is known as PTSD.

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