Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating, stress-related psychiatric disorder with prevalence rates of about 7-8% in the U.S. population and with much higher rates among military veterans and those living in high-violence areas. PTSD suffered as a result of abuse in childhood is also a significant problem. A U.S. study of 900 black men and women who had suffered from significant levels of childhood abuse as well as other types of trauma found that variations in a gene called FKBP5 influenced the interaction between the levels of abuse in childhood and the tendency of people to develop PTSD. The gene is related to stress response and the gene-environment interaction remained significant even when depression, age, sex and levels of trauma other than child abuse were taken into account.
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