Researchers Combine Epigenetics And Brain Imaging To Help Combat PTSD

We’ve known for some time that high levels of stress can cause changes in gene expression, particularly in areas related to the body’s stress response. Now, a new study has discovered some clues as to why, and the results may lead to better treatments for PTSD.

For the first time, researchers combined epigenetics and brain imaging techniques to study a group of combat veterans, and found that stress-related epigenetic changes were associated with reduced volume in the hippocampus, an area of the brain related to memory and emotional response.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening or intensely stressful event. PTSD can exert an enormous toll on an individual’s life, affecting their daily activities and relationships. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 7 or 8 of every 100 people will experience this disorder at some point in their lives. Anyone can develop PTSD at any age, including children, war veterans, and people who have been through distressing events. Recent research published in PLoS ONE combined brain imaging and epigenetics to better predict the symptoms of PTSD, which may help physicians to diagnose and treat individuals with the disorder.

Numerous animal studies have shown that epigenetic modifications can affect gene expression following environmental stress. These changes in gene expression can influence stress-response functions, such as those mediated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. One epigenetic study found that a woman’s estrogen level could influence methylation of HDAC4 and determine if she may be susceptible to developing PTSD, potentially even epigenetically protecting her from the disorder. Although further research is needed, another preliminary research study suggests we may be able to increase a certain type of epigenetic enzyme to ease anxiety or alleviate PTSD by erasing troubling memories. Researchers Combine Epigenetics And Brain Imaging To Help Combat PTSD

Researchers Combine Epigenetics And Brain Imaging To Help Combat PTSD
Researchers Combine Epigenetics And Brain Imaging To Help Combat PTSD
Researchers Combine Epigenetics And Brain Imaging To Help Combat PTSD
Researchers Combine Epigenetics And Brain Imaging To Help Combat PTSD

Researchers Combine Epigenetics And Brain Imaging To Help Combat PTSD

Researchers Combine Epigenetics And Brain Imaging To Help Combat PTSD

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