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Social Work Today
E-Newsletter    May 2023
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Editor's E-Note

New research suggests that a blood test can reveal patterns in four biomarkers that not only may indicate an individual’s risk for developing PTSD but also may contribute to diagnosing the condition and tracking the effectiveness of treatment. The largest prospective study to look at biological markers of PTSD across time, the research involved more than 1,000 service members.

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— Kate Jackson, editor
In This E-Newsletter
E-News Exclusive
Researchers Identify Markers of PTSD in the Blood

A new study found that people who are currently suffering or face a high risk of PTSD show particular patterns in four biomarkers measurable with a simple blood test. The findings suggest these biomarkers could be used to predict a person’s likelihood of developing PTSD, diagnose the disorder, or monitor the response to treatment.

PTSD can occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It is currently diagnosed based on symptoms such as flashbacks, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, negative thoughts, memory problems, and avoidance of triggering situations. Since other disorders can have some of these same symptoms, it can be challenging to diagnose PTSD and assess changes in response to treatment.

This research, which involved over 1,000 service members, represents the largest prospective study to date to assess the biological markers of PTSD over time.

“This study provides valuable insights into the natural history of PTSD and the effectiveness of interventions, which can inform the development of treatment guidelines and improve the care for individuals suffering from PTSD,” says Stacy-Ann Miller, a researcher at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. “Better methods of predicting or screening for PTSD could help to overcome the disorder by identifying individuals at high risk of developing PTSD and providing them with early intervention or prevention strategies. This could potentially reduce the severity of symptoms or prevent the disorder from developing altogether.”


Other Social Work News

Civilians Addressing Mental Health Calls
Social workers and paramedics are responding to 911 calls for suicide threats, drug overdoses, and other mental health crises in New Mexico. The Guardian reports on the trend of civilian response throughout the United States and its benefits and limitations.

Role of Social Workers in Helping Patients With Parkinson’s Disease
In March, the American Parkinson Disease Association honored social workers by highlighting the role they play in helping individuals with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers.

CBT for Maternal Perinatal Depression
How do individuals with depression during the perinatal period respond to cognitive behavioral therapy? A study published in BMC Psychiatry looks at the therapy’s effectiveness as well as its impact on secondary outcomes such as anxiety, stress, and parental competence.

The Psychology of Risk
In an article in Psychology Today, Sandro Galea, MD, suggests that risk is misunderstood and explores the science behind it and the ways in which we estimate danger and recognize the potential for harm.


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