UCLA research links genes to PTSD predisposition.

by | May 10, 2012


“People can develop post-traumatic stress disorder after surviving a life-threatening ordeal like war, rape or a natural disaster,” said lead author Dr. Armen Goenjian, a research professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. “If confirmed, our findings could eventually lead to new ways to screen people at risk for PTSD and target specific medicines for preventing and treating the disorder.” 


Charles R. Figley, Ph.D. Purdue University authored first clinical research for PTSD in 1978, “Stress Disorders among Vietnam Veterans.”  In his early research there are many references to “predisposition” to Acute Combat Reaction, http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Combat+FatigueA discussion of neuropsychiatry in World War II refers to the matter along with other resources in this research as well.  The notion is to find a way to conduct highly effective screening to weed out those with a predisposition or better yet in the case of the more recent genetic research referred to by UCLA.  Screening discipline is a practice in the military especially with regard to special forces training and deployment.  But it appears that the cost of more extensive and tested screening during training would be impractical and prohibitive.  My personal view is that we are entering less than comfortable and uncertain territory by trying to effectively screen all who enter the military, especially those in combat theater.  In case of emergency deployment of millions as in another world war, it would be impossible to screen everyone.  The more practical approach, in my opinion, is to re frame PTSD as an “injury” and therefore address the problem the same as any other physical injury sustained in combat.  The exception, however; is screening as a function of special forces training where there is the most risk, and where achieving human perfection in combat is the goal.  And perfection as humans is still a stretch even under the most optimum mental, physical, and organizational effectiveness conditions.  Competitive sports can also be used as an analogy to striving for ultimate perfection in human performance.

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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