-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Women, but not men, with
post-traumatic stress disorder have high blood levels of a
stress-related hormone, new research shows.
The hormone -- pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating
polypeptide (PACAP) -- is known to affect central nervous system
activity, metabolism, blood pressure, pain sensitivity and immune
In the new study, published in the Feb. 24 issue of
Nature, researchers assessed 64 people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and found that symptom scores were five times higher among women with above-average PACAP levels than among women with below-average PACAP levels.
The team also found that, due to genetic variations, PTSD may be
triggered by different biological pathways in women and men.
The finding that PACAP levels are an indicator of PTSD symptoms
may lead to new ways to diagnose and treat PTSD and other anxiety
disorders, the study authors noted.
"Few biological markers have been available for PTSD or for psychiatric diseases in general. These results give us a new window into the biology of PTSD," first author Dr. Kerry Ressler, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
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