Gene Linked to Stress Disorder

Could explain why some soldiers are more susceptible
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2008 11:16 AM CDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama looks at a show of hands for those diagnosed with PTSD while participating in an MTV roundtable with Iraq war veterans.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A gene that may influence an individual's susceptibility to post-traumatic stress disorder has been identified by psychologists at Emory University, Time reports. A study of low-income African-American adults in the Atlanta area, 80% of whom had experienced trauma, found that certain versions of a gene were linked to higher PTSD rates in those who had a history of earlier trauma, such as child abuse or violence.

These findings could help point to why some soldiers who experience battlefield horrors suffer from PTSD and some don't, as well as why some people can leave childhood trauma behind them while others remain debilitated by it. And it could lead to screening for high-risk groups—such as military special forces—though "the science isn't there yet."