Israeli researchers at Hadassah University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry found significant differences in signature blood markers between shock patients in the ER who later developed posttraumatic stress and those who did not.. Researchers Arie Shalev and Ronen Segman and their team at Hadassah University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry in Jerusalem measured markers in the blood [peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) gene expression] of trauma survivors in the ER and four months later, and found significant differences between those who developed symptoms of PTSD (posttraumatic stress) and those who did not.

Their research methodology was innovative in itself. They examined thousands of possible markers at once, using oligonucleotide microarrays, considered the best available technology available.

This is a very exciting finding which needs to be replicated and refined with a larger population of subjects. (This was a pilot study with 24 subjects, 12 of whom developed PTSD). If the results holds up, this means that clinicians we will be able to identify who is at risk immediately after a traumatic event and be more proactive in helping them, not to mention find ways of developing methods of prevention.

Citation: Segman RH, Shefi N, Goltser-Dubner T, Friedman N, Kaminski N, Shalev AY. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell gene expression profiles identify emergent post-traumatic stress disorder among trauma survivors. Mol Psychiatry. 2005 Feb 01; [Epub ahead of print]