PTSD in soldiers may be connected to childhood trauma

New research on posttraumatic stress disorder in soldiers challenges popular assumptions about the origins and trajectory of PTSD, providing evidence that traumatic experiences in childhood – not combat – may predict which soldiers develop the disorder. More here
“The vast majority of the soldiers (84%) were resilient, showing no PTSD symptoms at all or recovering quickly from mild symptoms.

The rest of the soldiers showed distinct and unexpected patterns of symptoms. About 4% showed evidence of “new-onset” trajectory, with symptoms starting low and showing a marked increase across the five timepoints. Their symptoms did not appear to follow any specific traumatic event.

Most notably, about 13% of the soldiers in the study actually showed temporary improvement in symptoms during deployment. These soldiers reported significant symptoms of stress prior to leaving for Afghanistan that seemed to ease in the first months of deployment only to increase again upon their return home.

What could account for this unexpected pattern of symptoms?

Compared to the resilient soldiers, the soldiers who developed PTSD were much more likely to have suffered emotional problems and traumatic events prior to deployment. Childhood experiences of violence, especially punishment severe enough to cause bruises, cuts, burns, and broken bones actually predicted the onset of PTSD in these soldiers. Those who showed symptoms of PTSD were more likely to have witnessed family violence, and to have experienced physical attacks, stalking or death threats by a spouse. They were also more likely to have past experiences that they could not, or would not, talk about. And they were less educated than the resilient soldiers.

According to Berntsen and colleages, all of these factors together suggest that army life — despite the fact that it involved combat — offered more in the way of social support and life satisfaction than these particular soldiers had at home. The mental health benefits of being valued and experiencing camaraderie thus diminished when the soldiers had to return to civilian life.

The findings challenge the notion that exposure to combat and other war atrocities is the main cause of PTSD.”

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Acclimating

We’re in Manila for a couple conferences.  We’re staying at the swankiest hotel in which I have ever stayed in my entire life.  I have been running around taking pictures like the country hick I am.

 

I was reading on my kindle and found myself all snuggled up in my very comfortable bed ,with socks on a downy comforter wrapped up around me and I was still chilly.  They I got up and looked at the AirCon.  When I wasn’t looking my husband had turned it down to 25 C- a shivery 77 degrees F.  I brought it back to a more comfortable 85.

Breakfast is served for four house in the morning, and the spread is amazing- cereal, muesli, hot cakes, waffles, eggs cooked for you as you wait, bacon, six kinds of fruit, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, soups, pancit, chicken sisig,  rice, and six different types of pastries (half of them you wouldn’t have heard of) .
So I had the fried bangus (milkfish), garlic rice, and the chile spiced Chinese BBQ pork, along with some tropical fruit, and some ensaymada and coffee afterward.

The Cherub had longanissa (a very sweet Filipino sausage) rice, and grilled tomatoes.

We had fresh mango juice, too, because we could.

I came down to the lobby to work on some documents on my laptop while housecleaning is doing my room.  I wore flip-flops  and my feet are cold even though I am sitting near the lobby door so the outside air comes in.  I have been listening to a track of Christmas carols for the last hour and I am sitting about ten feet from a 20 foot tall Christmas tree loaded with glittering gold and rich red decorations.

 

If I could import my kids and grandkids, I’d live here forever.

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K-Pop: This is What I Want

‘general.’

This is my latest ear-worm. It’s not profound, but it sticks. It’s catchy. It’s fun.

It’s the soundtrack for the K-Drama Mad Dog, which is fun because of the characters, but the main mystery/conflict with an insurance company and an airplane company and victims of some kind of fraud is fuzzy, unclear, and not terribly interesting.
But I like the characters and the sound-track very, very much.

It’s by Niiwha, 니화, about whom I know pretty much nothing but he sings this song.

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Tozer, for my Commonplace Book

“There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence….
The truth of Wesley’s words is established before our eyes:
‘Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right opinions, yet right opinions may subsist without right tempers. There may be a right opinion of God without either love or one right temper toward Him. Satan is a proof of this.’

“…Sound Bible exposition is an imperative *must* in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.”
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

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PTSD and Gut Microbes

This is really fascinating:
The bacteria in your gut could hold clues to whether or not you will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after experiencing a traumatic event.

…In recent years, scientists have become aware of the important role of microbes existing inside the human gastrointestinal tract, called the gut microbiome. These microbes perform important functions, such as metabolising food and medicine, and fighting infections. It is now believed that the gut microbiome also influences the brain and brain function by producing neurotransmitters/hormones, immune-regulating molecules and bacterial toxins.

In turn, stress and emotions can change the composition of the gut microbiome. Stress hormones can affect bacterial growth and compromise the integrity of the intestinal lining, which can result in bacteria and toxins entering the bloodstream. This can cause inflammation, which has been shown to play a role in several psychiatric disorders.

“Our study compared the gut microbiomes of individuals with PTSD to that of people who also experienced significant trauma, but did not develop PTSD (trauma-exposed controls). We identified a combination of three bacteria (Actinobacteria, Lentisphaerae and Verrucomicrobia) that were different in people with PTSD,” explains the lead researcher, Dr Stefanie Malan-Muller. She is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Individuals with PTSD had significantly lower levels of this trio of bacteria compared to trauma-exposed control groups. Individuals who experienced trauma during their childhood also had lower levels of two of these bacteria (Actinobacteria and Verrucomicrobia). “What makes this finding interesting, is that individuals who experience childhood trauma are at higher risk of developing PTSD later in life, and these changes in the gut microbiome possibly occurred early in life in response to childhood trauma,” says Malan-Muller. She collaborated with researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder on the study.

One of the known functions of these bacteria is immune system regulation, and researchers have noted increased levels of inflammation and altered immune regulation in individuals with PTSD. “Changes in immune regulation and increased inflammation also impact the brain, brain functioning and behaviour. Levels of inflammatory markers measured in individuals shortly after a traumatic event, was shown to predict later development of PTSD.

“We therefore hypothesise that the low levels of those three bacteria may have resulted in immune dysregulation and heightened levels of inflammation in individuals with PTSD, which may have contributed to their disease symptoms,” explains Malan-Muller.

However, researchers are unable to determine whether this bacterial deficit contributed to PTSD susceptibility, or whether it occurred as a consequence of PTSD.

“It does, however, bring us one step closer to understanding the factors that might play a role in PTSD. Factors influencing susceptibility and resilience to developing PTSD are not yet fully understood, and identifying and understanding all these contributing factors could in future contribute to better treatments, especially since the microbiome can easily be altered with the use of prebiotics (non-digestible food substances), probiotics (live, beneficial microorganisms), and synbiotics (a combination of probiotics and prebiotics), or dietary interventions.”

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