News Stories

DNA Tests for Soldiers and Police?

The recent killing of Afghan civilians by an American soldier who undoubtedly had post traumatic stress disease--as well as the shooting of a black kid by a patrol officer here in the US--points out the need to identify soldiers and police who are vulnerable to PTSD BEFORE they are hired--but is this possible? It may be: scientists have identified specific genetic risks that make people more vulnerable to this condition.

Neuroscientist Joseph Boscarino says, "We found that individuals with these ‘at-risk' genetic variants were more likely to develop PTSD, especially those that had higher exposure to traumatic events. Those without these four genetic variants appeared to be highly resilient to PTSD, regardless of trauma exposure history."

Boscarino thinks that genetic screening individuals for these genetic factors in the future may lead to better post-trauma treatments and genetic counseling related to career options in the military or in the uniformed civil services, such as police work or firefighting. He says, "More can and should be done to effectively identify and treat PTSD. We believe our research has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of people who suffer from this debilitating condition."

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