Thursday, February 24, 2011
PACAP and PTSD
A team of researchers from Emory University and the University of Vermont have found a link between a hormone released during times of stress and the development of post-traumatic stress in women. The researchers studied 64 people who were, in turn, taking part in a larger research project, the Grady Trauma Project which is a study of 1,200 low-income people living in Atlanta who have high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The 64 participants completed questionnaires on their life histories and provided saliva and blood samples to be analyzed. The study found that women with high levels of a hormone called pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) had PTSD symptoms five times higher than women with lower-than-average levels. PACAP acts throughout the body and brain affecting central-nervous-system activity, metabolism, blood pressure, pain sensitivity and immune function.