By Drs. Lohr and Palmer

August 01, 2018

Most people think that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is only a mental health issue. However, there is evidence to show that PTSD is associated with earlier onset of age-related medical illnesses, higher risk of decline in thinking skills such as memory or problem solving, and earlier death. Researchers are now investigating the possibility that PTSD is speeding up the aging process.

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Drs. James Lohr and Barton Palmer of CESAMH are examining the relationship between PTSD and accelerated aging in Veterans with PTSD. They are particularly interested in the role of the body’s natural defenses and healing processes (inflammatory responses) in relation to PTSD and aging.

A unique feature of this study is its methods. Standard approaches to studying aging usually involve following individuals over decades, which delays finding answers. Instead, Drs. Lohr and Palmer designed their study to compare different age groups over a three-year period. This type of study design allows them to investigate how time and the diagnosis of PTSD may lead to changes in the body’s natural defenses and inflammatory processes over time. The results of this study could demonstrate the need for new treatment approaches to address the physiological effects of PTSD so that medical illness, decline in thinking, and early death can be reduced or prevented.

 

 

 

To learn more about PTSD and accelerated aging, please see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4568841/