More than 35 percent of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have received mental health diagnoses, the most prevalent being Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is a psychiatric condition and symptoms can occur after being exposed to extremely stressful life events. Researchers say that patients with PTSD are six times more at risk of committing suicide.
Investigators at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and Arnold School of Public Health and the Dorn VA Medical Center are conducting research on PTSD. The lead reasearcher and associate dean at the USC medical school, Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti says preliminary results of the study show a link between PTSD and the compromised immune system in war veterans diagnosed with the disorder.
Nagarkatti says the results are significant because they could lead to new methods for diagnosis and treatment of PTSD. The findings are also the basis for a $1.72 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to Nagarkatti and his team. The grant will intensify the team’s research on the pathological basis of immune dysfunction in war veterans with PTSD.