Genetic and Neuroimaging Approaches to Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Bhat, Ajaz A
Yadav, Santosh K
Frenneaux, Michael P
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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a highly disabling condition, increasingly recognized as both a disorder of mental health and social burden, but also as an anxiety disorder characterized by fear, stress, and negative alterations in mood. PTSD is associated with structural, metabolic, and molecular changes in several brain regions and the neural circuitry. Brain areas implicated in the traumatic stress response include the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex, which play an essential role in memory function. Abnormalities in these brain areas are hypothesized to underlie symptoms of PTSD and other stress-related psychiatric disorders. Conventional methods of studying PTSD have proven to be insufficient for diagnosis, measurement of treatment efficacy, and monitoring disease progression, and currently, there is no diagnostic biomarker available for PTSD. A deep understanding of cutting-edge neuroimaging genetic approaches is necessary for the development of novel therapeutics and biomarkers to better diagnose and treat the disorder. A current goal is to understand the gene pathways that are associated with PTSD, and how those genes act on the fear/stress circuitry to mediate risk vs. resilience for PTSD. This review article explains the rationale and practical utility of neuroimaging genetics in PTSD and how the resulting information can aid the diagnosis and clinical management of patients with PTSD.
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