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Study: Genetic Connection to PTSD in Some NIU Students

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 6, 2011 1:30PM

2011_9_6_NIU.jpg A study published in this month's Archives of General Psychiatry concludes a genetic link among people likely to suffer more frequently from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The genetic variations are related to the release of serotonin. Among the individuals interviewed for the study were NIU students during the Valentine's Day 2008 campus shootings by Steven Kazmierczak. Kazmierczak killed five when he walked into a class and opened fire.

Holly Orcutt, an NIU associate professor of psychology who worked on the study, found that 50 of 204 women she observed for the study, carried a variation in a gene commonly targeted by anti-depressants. 52 percent of those women reported PTSD symptoms after the shooting.

Orcutt and other researchers made their conclusions by questioning students about such PTSD symptoms as anxiety and nightmares following the Kazmierczak shooting.