A new study finds that people who currently have or are at high risk of developing PTSD show patterns in four vital signs that can be measured with a simple blood test. The findings suggest that these biomarkers can be used to predict a person’s likelihood of developing PTSD, diagnose the disorder or monitor response to treatment.
PTSD can occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It is currently diagnosed based on symptoms such as flashbacks, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, negative thoughts, memory problems, and avoidance of triggering situations. Because other disorders can have some of these same symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose PTSD and assess changes in response to treatment.
This research, involving more than 1,000 service personnel, represents the largest prospective study to date to evaluate biomarkers of PTSD over time.
“This study provides valuable insights into the natural history of PTSD and the effectiveness of interventions, which can help develop treatment guidelines and improve care for individuals with PTSD,” said Stacy Ann Miller, a researcher at Walter Reed Military Institute. From research in Silver Spring, Maryland. “Better methods of predicting or detecting PTSD can help with the disorder by identifying individuals at risk of developing PTSD and providing them with early intervention or prevention strategies. This can reduce the severity of symptoms or prevent the disorder from developing altogether. ”
Miller will present the new research at Discover BMBAnnual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, March 25-28 in Seattle.
Biomarkers, which reflect biological processes, can provide an objective measure of physiological changes associated with diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder. For the study, the researchers analyzed four vital signs in blood samples from active duty personnel taken 10 months before they were deployed, three days after they returned and three to six months after they returned. Biomarkers have previously been linked to stress, depression, anxiety, and mental health disorders. They include: The glycolytic ratio, which is a measure of how well the body breaks down sugar to produce energy. arginine, an amino acid that plays a role in the immune and cardiovascular systems; serotonin, a chemical messenger that helps regulate mood, sleep, and other functions; and glutamate, a chemical messenger that plays a role in learning and memory.
The researchers divided the service members into groups based on measures of PTSD and mental resilience and compared the four vital signs between the different groups. Participants were classified as having PTSD, subthreshold PTSD, or no PTSD depending on clinical diagnosis and PTSD symptoms. The researchers rated the participants’ resilience based on a combination of factors including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, sleep quality, alcohol use disorders, combat exposure, traumatic brain injury, and general physical and mental health. Previous studies have shown that people who are considered to have low resilience based on these measures are more likely to develop PTSD after publication than those who are high resilience.
Comparing these biomarkers in subjects with PTSD and different levels of resilience, the results showed that those with PTSD or sub-minimum PTSD had significantly higher glycolysis and lower arginine than those with High elasticity. People with PTSD also have lower levels of serotonin and higher glutamate levels than those who are highly resilient. These associations were independent of factors such as sex, age, body mass index, smoking, and caffeine consumption.
The researchers said the biomarkers could help predict which individuals are at high risk for PTSD, improve the accuracy of PTSD diagnoses and improve public understanding of the drivers and effects of PTSD.
“Improved methods of screening and prediction for PTSD could help improve treatment approaches by providing a deeper understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying the disorder,” Miller said. “This may lead to the development of more targeted and effective therapies for PTSD or the identification of specific PTSD subtypes, which may respond differently to different therapies.”
The researchers cautioned that more research and validation is needed to confirm the usefulness of biomarkers in real-world settings.
The research was conducted in collaboration with the PTSD Systems Biology Consortium, a network of government and academic laboratories.
Stacy Ann Miller will present this research from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. PDT on Monday, March 27, in Showroom 4AB of the Seattle Convention Center (poster #103).
the quote: Researchers Identify Markers of PTSD Blood (2023, March 27), Retrieved March 27, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-03-markers-ptsd-blood.html
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