Predicting illnesses based on inherited susceptibility to stress

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(Credit: bottled_void/Flickr)

Everyone feels stressed out at times; however, for some stress evolves into mental and physical illnesses that lead to even worse illnesses and issues. For these reasons, scientists and doctors have long studied stress looking at what causes stress, how stress affects people, and what can be done to prevent and/or treat stress-related illnesses.

On Saturday, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) released information about one study’s findings on a potential new predictor of stress-related disorders.

Stress often leads to depression, and the scientists involved in the UTHSC study that focused on depression in teens discovered that subtle changes in a gene predict the brain’s reaction to stress.

In addition to depression, stress can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obesity, which means understanding how to predict the brain’s reaction to stress may help lower these risks in the future.

For some time, scientists have believed that stress-related disorders are likely inherited or a result of exposure to traumatic events.

The UTHSC study, led by Dr. Douglas E. Williamson, in conjunction with studies from Duke University, Columbia University, and the University of Pittsburgh, focused on how genes change over time, which just might prove how those with the same genetic makeup are more susceptible to stress than others, particularly when that genetic makeup is prone to stress-related illnesses.

Read the full, original story: New discovery about potential genetic predictor of stress


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