Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Greater Traumatic Stress Linked with Elevated Inflammation in Heart Patients

02.04.2012
Greater lifetime exposure to the stress of traumatic events was linked to higher levels of inflammation in a study of almost 1,000 patients with cardiovascular disease led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.

In the first study to examine the relationship between cumulative traumatic stress exposure and inflammation, the scientists found that the more traumatic stress a patient was exposed to over the course of a lifetime, the greater the chances the patient would have elevated levels of inflammatory markers in his or her bloodstream.

“This may be significant for people with cardiovascular disease, because we know that heart disease patients with higher levels of inflammation tend to have worse outcomes,” said lead author Aoife O’Donovan, PhD, a Society in Science: Branco Weiss Fellow in psychiatry at SFVAMC and UCSF.

The study was published electronically in February in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

The authors looked at exposures to 18 different types of traumatic events, all of which involved either experiencing or witnessing a direct a threat to life or physical integrity, in 979 patients age 45 to 90 with stable heart disease. They then measured a number of clinical markers of inflammation that circulate in the bloodstream, and found a direct correlation between degree of lifetime stress exposure and levels of inflammation.

Five years later, they measured the surviving patients’ inflammation markers again, and found that the patients who had originally reported the highest levels of trauma at the beginning of the study still had the highest levels of inflammation.

“Even though we lost some study participants because they died, we still observed the same relationship in those who remained,” O’Donovan said. “This suggests that it wasn’t just the people who were the most sick at the outset who were driving this effect.”

Senior investigator Beth Cohen, MD, a physician at SFVAMC, emphasized that the effect remained even after the researchers adjusted for psychiatric diagnoses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

“Not everyone who is exposed to trauma develops PTSD,” said Cohen, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at UCSF. “This study emphasizes that traumatic stress can have a long-term negative impact on your health even if you don’t go on to develop PTSD. It also tells us that, as clinicians, we need to think about not just which diagnostic box someone might fit into, but what their lifetime trauma exposure has been.”

Although the study did not probe the potential causes for the link between lifetime stress and inflammation, O’Donovan offered one possible explanation.

“We know that in the aftermath of traumatic stress, people become more sensitive to threats,” she said. “This is actually pro-survival, because if you’re in a dangerous environment, that alertness can help you avoid future harm.”

However, she explained, people with heightened threat sensitivity may also show increased inflammatory responses. “What we think is happening is that people with a history of multiple traumatic stress exposures have increased inflammatory response more often and for longer periods, and so inflammation becomes chronically high,” she said.

Cohen noted that “this is a study of older people, and the cumulative effects that decades of traumatic experiences have on their bodies. If we could intervene with young people,” she said, “using techniques that we know help fight stress, such as exercise, yoga and other integrative health techniques, it would be interesting to know if we might be able to prevent some of this.”

The study subjects were all participants in the Heart and Soul Study, an ongoing investigation into the link between psychological factors and the risk of heart events and mortality in patients with stable heart disease. The Heart and Soul study is directed by Mary Whooley, MD, a physician at SFVAMC and a professor of medicine at UCSF.

Co-authors of the study are Thomas Neylan, MD, of SFVAMC and UCSF, and Thomas Metzler, MA, of SFVAMC.

The study was supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Irene Perstein Foundation, the Department of Veterans Affairs and a Society in Science: Branco Weiss Fellowship. Some of the funds were administered by the Northern California Institute for Research and Education.

NCIRE - The Veterans Health Research Institute - is the largest research institute associated with a VA medical center. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of veterans and the general public by supporting a world-class biomedical research program conducted by the UCSF faculty at SFVAMC.

SFVAMC has the largest medical research program in the national VA system, with more than 200 research scientists, all of whom are faculty members at UCSF.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Steve Tokar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ncire.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Underwater Snail-o-Bot gets kick from light
27.02.2020 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme

nachricht Existing drugs may offer a first-line treatment for coronavirus outbreak
27.02.2020 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: High-pressure scientists in Bayreuth discover promising material for information technology

Researchers at the University of Bayreuth have discovered an unusual material: When cooled down to two degrees Celsius, its crystal structure and electronic properties change abruptly and significantly. In this new state, the distances between iron atoms can be tailored with the help of light beams. This opens up intriguing possibilities for application in the field of information technology. The scientists have presented their discovery in the journal "Angewandte Chemie - International Edition". The new findings are the result of close cooperation with partnering facilities in Augsburg, Dresden, Hamburg, and Moscow.

The material is an unusual form of iron oxide with the formula Fe₅O₆. The researchers produced it at a pressure of 15 gigapascals in a high-pressure laboratory...

Im Focus: From China to the South Pole: Joining forces to solve the neutrino mass puzzle

Study by Mainz physicists indicates that the next generation of neutrino experiments may well find the answer to one of the most pressing issues in neutrino physics

Among the most exciting challenges in modern physics is the identification of the neutrino mass ordering. Physicists from the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA+ at...

Im Focus: Therapies without drugs

Fraunhofer researchers are investigating the potential of microimplants to stimulate nerve cells and treat chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. Find out what makes this form of treatment so appealing and which challenges the researchers still have to master.

A study by the Robert Koch Institute has found that one in four women will suffer from weak bladders at some point in their lives. Treatments of this condition...

Im Focus: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New molten metal hybrid filters from TU Freiberg will make components even safer and more resistant in the future

28.02.2020 | Materials Sciences

Polymers get caught up in love-hate chemistry of oil and water

28.02.2020 | Life Sciences

Two NE tree species can be used in new sustainable building material

28.02.2020 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>