Why do some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) while others who suffered the same ordeal do not? A new UCLA discovery may shed light on the answer.

UCLA scientists have linked two gene variants to the debilitating mental disorder, suggesting that heredity influences a person’s risk of developing PTSD. Published in the February 2015 edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders, the findings could provide a biological basis for diagnosing and treating PTSD more effectively in the future.

“Many people suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder after surviving a life-threatening ordeal like war, rape or a natural disaster,” explained lead author Dr. Armen Goenjian, a researcher at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. “But not everyone who experiences trauma suffers from PTSD. We investigated whether PTSD has genetic underpinnings that make some people more vulnerable to the syndrome than others.”

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