Brain‐derived neurotropic factor polymorphisms, traumatic stress, mild traumatic brain injury, and combat exposure contribute to postdeployment traumatic stress
Dretsch, Michael N.
Crawford, Fiona C.
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CitationDretsch, Michael N., Kathy Williams, Tanja Emmerich, Gogce Crynen, Ghania Ait‐Ghezala, Helena Chaytow, Venkat Mathura, Fiona C. Crawford, and Grant L. Iverson. 2015. “Brain‐derived neurotropic factor polymorphisms, traumatic stress, mild traumatic brain injury, and combat exposure contribute to postdeployment traumatic stress.” Brain and Behavior 6 (1): e00392. doi:10.1002/brb3.392. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/brb3.392.
AbstractAbstract Background: In addition to experiencing traumatic events while deployed in a combat environment, there are other factors that contribute to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military service members. This study explored the contribution of genetics, childhood environment, prior trauma, psychological, cognitive, and deployment factors to the development of traumatic stress following deployment. Methods: Both pre‐ and postdeployment data on 231 of 458 soldiers were analyzed. Postdeployment assessments occurred within 30 days from returning stateside and included a battery of psychological health, medical history, and demographic questionnaires; neurocognitive tests; and blood serum for the D2 dopamine receptor (DRD2), apolipoprotein E (APOE), and brain‐derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) genes. Results: Soldiers who screened positive for traumatic stress at postdeployment had significantly higher scores in depression (d = 1.91), anxiety (d = 1.61), poor sleep quality (d = 0.92), postconcussion symptoms (d = 2.21), alcohol use (d = 0.63), traumatic life events (d = 0.42), and combat exposure (d = 0.91). BDNF Val66 Met genotype was significantly associated with risk for sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and screening positive for traumatic stress. Predeployment traumatic stress, greater combat exposure and sustaining an mTBI while deployed, and the BDNF Met/Met genotype accounted for 22% of the variance of postdeployment PTSD scores (R 2 = 0.22, P < 0.001). However, predeployment traumatic stress, alone, accounted for 17% of the postdeployment PTSD scores. Conclusion: These findings suggest predeployment traumatic stress, genetic, and environmental factors have unique contributions to the development of combat‐related traumatic stress in military service members.
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