Scientists Find 'PTSD Gene'

Studying survivors of Armenian earthquake reveals genes linked to disorder
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2012 2:21 PM CDT
A man stands among a pile empty coffins December 12, 1988, in Spitak a few days after the worst earthquake on record in Armenia.   (Getty Images/AFP)
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(Newser) – UCLA researchers think they've found a genetic link to post-traumatic stress disorder. The team studied survivors of a devastating 1988 earthquake in Armenia, which killed 25,000 people, and found that those with a specific pair of genetic variations that has previously been linked to depression were more likely to continue to suffer from PTSD symptoms today, the LA Times reports.

Researchers note that the genes are "relatively very small" contributors to an individual's likelihood of having PTSD, playing a far smaller role than more readily-identifiable factors such as gender (women were more likely to suffer than men), age (older people were more vulnerable), and whether or not a subject had lost loved ones. The study is the latest of more than a dozen to spring from the Armenian disaster, which has given PTSD researchers the unusual opportunity to recruit large groups with similar trauma.

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