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Blood test discovers post-traumatic disorders

Researchers at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem have discovered that a simple blood test may enable psychiatrists to predict if a person will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder while still in the emergency room a few hours after the traumatic event occurs.

The Scream

The results of the research, conducted at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem, shows how researchers have discovered a physiological signature in peripheral blood cells of activities that take place mainly in the brain. The research, which was published in the prestigious journal of Molecular Psychiatry, describes how the researchers examined thousands of possible markers at once using the best available technology to achieve this first-ever finding that could vastly improve the diagnosis and treatment of many Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder patients.Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is characterized by symptoms such as sleeping disorders, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, nightmares and flashbacks to the traumatic event. These symptoms may persist months and years later. The test group included 24 participants who were diagnosed as shock casualties in the emergency room after experiencing a traumatic event; and 12 of whom developed PTSD four months later. Each was given a blood test in the emergency room and another blood test four months later. The laboratory examination revealed hundreds of various markers for PTSD in those who suffered from it, and no markers at all in the healthy group.

The researchers believe that after some improvement in the testing process, it will be possible to predict the PTSD symptoms. Hadasit, the Hadassah subsidiary in charge of promoting and commercializing intellectual properties generated at Hadassah, has already patented the findings of the research and is in the advanced stages of developing a commercial diagnostic kit for PTSD.

Ronen Segman MD

The next stage for the research team, led by Dr. Ronen Segman, head of Hadassah's Department of Psychiatry, will be to concentrate on detecting the genes that contribute to PTSD, in order to shed more light on the biological processes in our bodies that cause mental diseases, and from this to develop ways to prevent such diseases.

Iddo Genuth

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