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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Tied to Genetics, Cardiac Risks

5-HTTLPR genotype contributes to PTSD risk; PTSD affects cardiovascular health, quality of life

FRIDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Genetics contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which in turn is associated with patient-reported cardiovascular health and quality of life, according to two studies in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

In one study, Pingxing Xie, of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues studied 582 European-American and 670 African-American subjects who reported adult trauma or adversity in childhood. The subjects were genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and logistic regression was used to assess its association with PTSD. While the 5-HTTLPR genotype alone did not predict PTSD, it increased the risk for PTSD for those with adult traumatic events and childhood adversity (odds ratio for European-Americans, 2.86; odds ratio for African-Americans, 1.88).

In the second study, Beth E. Cohen, M.D., of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco, and colleagues assessed 1,022 subjects with coronary artery disease for PTSD. Subjects with PTSD were more likely to report at least mild cardiac symptoms compared to those without PTSD (57 versus 36 percent), mild physical limitations (59 versus 44 percent), and mildly diminished quality of life (62 versus 35 percent).

"Among patients with heart disease, PTSD is more strongly associated with patient-reported cardiovascular health status than objective measures of cardiac function. Future studies should explore whether assessing and treating PTSD symptoms can improve function and quality of life in patients with heart disease," the authors of the second study write.

A co-author of the first study reported financial relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.

Abstract - Xie
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Abstract - Cohen
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