Home > Uncategorized > Gene Screens for PTSD

Gene Screens for PTSD

I read an article in Psychology Today, and was especially interested in it as it relates to my final project. The article is about a study done (the first to ever be published, in the Journal of Affective Disorders) regarding the influence of genes in PTSD. The study was done by a team of scientists from both UCLA and Duke, and their findings were that certain genes can heighten the risk, or create a greater predisposition, to getting PTSD.

But that was it. After that, I had practically no information on the conductors of the study, or really what they even found or did. So I did a little more research, and found a much more comprehensive article on Sciencedaily.com. It explained who the researchers were, and more importantly (to me at least) what the genes affecting PTSD were about: they are called TPH1 and TPH2, and control serotonin production (a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates mood, sleep and alertness).

So, despite from being an interesting scientific find (that is very, VERY far from being applied in the real world), I learned a little bit about questioning what you read, and doing a bit more research sometimes to find what you are really looking for.

What do you think? If you compared the two articles, what did you think the differences/similarities were? Or, if you don’t want to do that, what do you think of this study in more scientific terms – do you think it’s reliable? Useful? Is it something that should continued to be explored?



Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Ben Harrison
    April 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I feel that apart from coming away with new information on PTSD, you have also come away with a deeper understanding of research. In my opinion, no one topic can ever be completely researched. That is to say there is always more to learn about anything; whether it be in a form of another article to be read, or in a form of a study yet to be done. I find myself going through many “layers” of articles, using the bibliography of one article to find another, more in depth, article or study.

    The study seems to be sound in its reliability. Nothing jumps off the page and makes me questions the validity of the study nor the people conducting it. This article is useful in the field, as is any piece of information. I feel that with more articles researching the connection between PTSD and genes, and more advancements in genetic therapy, the interest in this article will increase. Of course this is something that should continued to be explored!

  2. zmackay
    April 24, 2012 at 5:27 am

    As your research partner, I found both aspects of this post to be really interesting. First of all, these articles really got me thinking about our genetic predisposition to psychological disorders, which are only now coming to the forefront of medical research. We know that individuals can be predisposed to a variety of diagnosable problems including, but not limited to, alcoholism and drug abuse, schizophrenia, manic depression, bi-polar disorder, and even more common conditions such as diabetes. Yet every time we learn that something new may be influenced by our genetic makeup, we are generally surprised. What is limited by our DNA and to what degree does this influence our perception of each disorder? Does this make the public more sympathetic considering that these disorders may be beyond human control? Questions of political significance are also raised; should we consider this when recruiting for the army? Would that help to avoid terrible incidences like the recent uncovered massacre in Iraq?
    I’m really impressed with the extent of your research and unwillingness to accept one article as a dead-end. It’s a perfect example of internet communication and it’s vast potential. We have so much at our fingertips, and it therefore falls on us to be as comprehensively educated as possible before formulating opinions; something that I think, identifies with the primary objective of this class.

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