PTSD Linked to Accelerated Aging

chromosomes_with_telomeres

chromosomes_with_telomeres

In recent years, public health concerns about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have risen significantly, driven in part by affected military veterans returning from conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. PTSD is associated with number of psychological maladies, among them chronic depression, anger, insomnia, eating disorders and substance abuse.

Writing in the May 7 online issue of American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System suggest that people with PTSD may also be at risk for accelerated aging or premature senescence.

“This is the first study of its type to link PTSD, a psychological disorder with no established genetic basis, which is caused by external, traumatic stress, with long-term, systemic effects on a basic biological process such as aging,” said Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences and director of the Center on Healthy Aging and Senior Care at UC San Diego, who is the senior author of this study.

Researchers had previously noted a potential association between psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and acceleration of the aging process. Jeste and colleagues determined to see if PTSD might show a similar association by conducting a comprehensive review of published empirical studies relevant to early aging in PTSD, covering multiple databases going back to 2000.

There is no standardized definition of what constitutes premature or accelerated senescence. For guidance, the researchers looked at early aging phenomena associated with non-psychiatric conditions, such as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, HIV infection and Down’s syndrome. The majority of evidence fell into three categories: biological indicators or biomarkers, such as leukocyte telomere length (LTL), earlier occurrence or higher prevalence of medical conditions associated with advanced age and premature mortality.

In their literature review, the UC San Diego team identified 64 relevant studies; 22 were suitable for calculating overall effect sizes for biomarkers, 10 for mortality.

All six studies looking specifically at LTL found reduced telomere length in persons with PTSD. Leukocytes are white blood cells. Telomeres are stretches of protective, repetitive nucleotide sequences at the ends of chromosomes. These sequences shorten with every cell replication and are considered a strong measure of the aging process in cells.

The scientists also found consistent evidence of increased pro-inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor alpha, associated with PTSD.

A majority of reviewed studies found increased medical comorbidity of PTSD with several targeted conditions associated with normal aging, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal ulcer disease and dementia.

Seven of 10 studies indicated a mild-to-moderate association of PTSD with earlier mortality, consistent with an early onset or acceleration of aging in PTSD.

“These findings do not speak to whether accelerated aging is specific to PTSD, but they do argue the need to re-conceptualize PTSD as something more than a mental illness,” said first author James B. Lohr, MD, professor of psychiatry. “Early senescence, increased medical morbidity and premature mortality in PTSD have implications in health care beyond simply treating PTSD symptoms. Our findings warrant a deeper look at this phenomenon and a more integrated medical-psychiatric approach to their care.”

 Barton Palmer, PhD, professor of psychiatry and a coauthor of the study, cautioned that “prospective longitudinal studies are needed to directly demonstrate accelerated aging in PTSD and to establish underlying mechanisms.”
Source:  scienceblog.com

Anger Disorders Linked to Inflammation

Anger Disorders May Be Linked to Inflammation:

 

Anger Disorders May Be Linked to Inflammation

Anger Disorders May Be Linked to Inflammation

For some people, violent behavior and anger may be linked with inflammation in their bodies, a new study finds.

The researchers measured markers of inflammation in the blood of 70 people diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder (IED), a condition that involves repeated episodes of impulsive aggression and temper tantrums, as seen in road rage, domestic abuse and throwing or breaking objects.

The study also included 61 people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders not involving aggression, and 67 participants with no psychiatric disorder, who served as controls.

The results showed a direct relationship between levels of two markers of inflammation and impulsivity and aggression in people with IED, but not in control participants. The results held after controlling for lifestyle factors and other differences between groups of participants, according to the study published today (Dec. 18) in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

How the link may work remains unclear, the researchers said.

“We don’t know yet if the inflammation triggers aggression, or aggressive feelings set off inflammation, but it’s a powerful indication that the two are biologically connected, and a damaging combination,” said study researcher Dr. Emil Coccaro, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago.

The finding doesn’t mean that taking anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin would calm an angry person. But it does open a new direction for future studies, which could focus on whether reducing inflammation could eventually reduce aggression.

People with IED overreact to stressful situations with uncontrollable anger and rage. The condition affects people’s professional and social lives, and may put them at higher risks for other mental problems, such as depression, anxiety and alcohol or drug abuse, the researchers said. People with IED also face increased risk for medical problems, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, they said.

Treatment for IED includes mood stabilizers and psychotherapy, but they are not always successful for all patients, Coccaro said.

In the study, the researchers focused on two markers of inflammation, called C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). CRP is produced by the liver in response to an infection or injury, whereas IL6 is secreted by white blood cells to stimulate immune responses. Blood levels of both CRP and IL-6 rise when the body’s inflammatory response is activated.

The study also found that both CRP and IL-6 levels were higher, on average, in people with IED, compared with other participants, and that both markers were particularly elevated in people who had more aggressive behaviors in the past.

Animal studies have shown that introducing similar inflammatory proteins into the brains of cats and mice increase their aggressive behavior. It is possible that in humans, too, some of the elevated proteins in the blood find their way to the brain and affect brain regions that control aggressive behavior, the researchers said.

Jews have control of US Department of Justice, Goldman Sachs

Anger as US prosecutors scrap probe of Goldman:

Anger as US prosecutors scrap probe of Goldman

Anger as US prosecutors scrap probe of Goldman

Goldman Sachs was let off the hook yesterday as the US Department of Justice dropped plans to bring criminal charges over claims the bank was betting against the same toxic subprime mortgage securities it sold to clients. In April last year senator Carl Levin demanded a criminal investigation after his sub-committee spent more than a year looking into Goldman. Chief executive Lloyd Blankfein faced a embarrassing grilling for hours from Mr Levin over whether it was morally correct for the firm to sell its clients products described internally as “crap”. The DoJ yesterday dropped plans to prosecute, saying: “the burden of proof to bring a criminal case could not be met based on the law and facts as they exist at this time”. The Securities and Exchange Commission also dropped a separate probe into the firm’s role in selling a different $1.3bn (£830m) subprime mortgage-related deal arranged in 2006. However, the regulator is still pursuing a civil complaint against Goldman vice-president Fabrice Tourre over its Abacus deal, which the bank settled for $550 million in 2010. Tourre was based in London while marketing the controversial investment, which saw Goldman sell loans selected by a hedge fund client it knew was betting against them. The failure to prosecute Goldman triggered frustration in some quarters. Neil Barofsky, a former watchdog for the US government’s 2008 bailout of the banks, said no individual or institution had been held accountable for the financial crisis. “Without such accountability, the unending parade of megabanks scandals will inevitably continue,” he said.