For veterans returning from duty, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a serious problem. The three main groups of symptoms of PTSD are re-experiencing, avoidance and hyperarousal. Re-experiencing can include intrusive thoughts, flashbacks of particular events, and nightmares.
Researchers investigated the genomes of veterans involved with the Million Veterans Program who suffered re-experiencing. This is a unique approach, to look at this one symptom, rather than a diagnosis of PTSD. The study compared the genomes of 146,660 white veterans, and 19,983 black veterans.
In white veterans they and found eight regions in the genome that were associated with re-experiencing, and three of these were deemed to be particularly significant, the CAMKV and TCF4 genes, and an area near the KANSL1 and CRHR1 genes. The study did not find a similar link in the genomes of black veterans but given the much smaller sample size is understandable.
The genomes of white veterans also revealed that there is a correlation with the genetics of PTSD and other conditions, including schizophrenia and hypertension. Future research may be able to determine if the hallucinations experienced by those with schizophrenia, and the flash backs of those with PTSD share a biochemical pathway.
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