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Blood Test May Diagnose PTSD as Scientists Find Genetic Changes in Soldiers

Blood Test May Diagnose PTSD as Scientists Find Genetic Changes in Soldiers

By    |   Wednesday, 06 September 2017 01:54 PM EDT

Scientists have found crucial genetic changes in soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, raising the possibility PTSD could soon be diagnosed with simple blood tests, The Telegraph reported Monday.

Until now the anxiety disorder could only be diagnosed through self-reported symptoms, which many soldiers and other suffering from PTSD were often reluctant to talk about.

But scientists at the University of Maastricht in The Netherlands discovered significant differences in the microRNA molecules of servicemen who had fought in Afghanistan and developed PTSD compared to soldiers who were not in combat there.

This is considered crucial, because unlike DNA, which provides the genetic code for functions in the body, microRNA regulates how active those genes are, The Telegraph reported.

Since microRNA molecules can flow throughout the body and can be detected in the blood, a blood test could pick up the abnormalities.

Limitations of the study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the European College of Neuropharmacology in Paris, are that this was a small pilot study, and the findings need to be validated and confirmed, according to News Medical Life Sciences.

Study author Dr. Laurence de Nijs, told News Medical Life Sciences that "Currently, there is no definite cure for patients with PTSD, and available treatments often are not effective," stressing "Individuals with PTSD are six times more at risk of committing suicide and having marital problems, and the annual loss of productivity is estimated to be approximately $3 billion."

Tel Aviv University Professor Josef Zohar, the former chair of the European College of Neuropharmacology, commented on the study, telling News Medical Life Sciences it "points to an innovative avenue regarding the potential identification of risk factors for susceptibility to developing post-traumatic stress disorder."

He added "The relevance of a better understanding of stress related events is unfortunately becoming clearer and clearer after each terror attack."

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Scientists have found crucial genetic changes in soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, raising the possibility PTSD could soon be diagnosed with simple blood tests, The Telegraph reported Monday.
blood test, diagnose, PTSD, scientists, genetics, soldiers
308
2017-54-06
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 01:54 PM
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