A grant has been awarded for a new study! Read below to learn more about the goals of the proposed study.
Post-traumatic stress (PTS) is a common psychiatric condition, affecting approximately 8% of the US population and 22% of US veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Several, although not all, studies have found that women experience PTS at twice the rate of men despite greater trauma exposure in men, suggesting possible sex differences in risk. Furthermore, PTS can have a profound effect on sleep and has also been associated with physical health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Both PTS and sleep disturbances lead to alterations in stress hormones that may increase health risks. Women may be at particularly high risk, given an increased prevalence of PTS and specific health conditions in women compared to men. Yet, there has been little research conducted that examines which biological factors vary by sex and relate to risk or resilience in men and women who have been exposed to trauma. The goal of this study is to identify biological mechanisms using a metabolomics approach that may explain differences in PTS, sleep disturbances that may affect health in men and women. Metabolomics is a laboratory technique to study small molecules in the blood stream that affect cell function. Metabolomics is broad approach that allows for a comprehensive examination of multiple biochemical pathways at the same time that may be missed with more traditional, targeted methods.
Ultimately, the results from this study may help both male and female warfighters who have PTS symptoms resulting from combat and/or military sexual assault as well as civilians who may have developed PTS as a result of life-threatening experiences such as car accidents, natural disasters, or interpersonal violence. The potential clinical application of this work may be the development of a biological marker for assessing risk or resilience for PTS and stress-related health conditions in men and women and potentially lead to the development of medications to improve these concerns. We may find that the results are not the same for men and women, which may lead to a more tailored approach for the screening and treatment of male and female warfighters. Improvements in screening and treatment for PTS will potentially lead to enhanced psychological and physical well-being, and greater quality of life in military personnel and Veterans with PTS and their family members and may also benefit trauma-exposed civilians.
We have recruited a new Research Assistant! Welcome Darush to the Stress and Resilience Laboratory. We are very excited to be working with you!
How did you hear about this position?
Through the PHPCP program at SF State. I am a student there.
What interested you about this position?
I was interested in helping veterans and learning more about clinical research.
What in your life has lead you to have an interest in PTSD research?
My mother’s side of the family has been involved with the military dating back generations. Growing up I was told stories from my uncles and grandfather about their experiences, which led me to develop a great respect for people who’ve served. Since PTSD is such a prevalent affliction in the veteran community, I was driven to spend my time helping veterans who are suffering with the disease. I find researching PTSD and contributing to the greater understand of the disease in hopes to improve treatment in the future both exciting and fulfilling.
What is your favorite part about the job so far?
Interviewing veterans on the phone for our study has been the most enjoyable part of the job so far. Listening to their stories and being able to discuss their clinical history has been a fascinating learning experience.
What is something you like to do in your free time?
I like to go hiking with my dog, see live music shows, and spend time with family and friends.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My mother. She has always encouraged me, supported me, and taught me how to always enjoy life.
What’s your favorite quote?
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye hard” - Winnie the Pooh
What is your favorite movie of all time?