Avoiding the Sickening Effects of Stress

July 12, 2016
A young Maoist soldier walks into a village in Kholagaun, Nepal, in 2004
A young Maoist soldier walks into a village in Kholagaun, Nepal, in 2004
Elizabeth Dalziel / AP

A research collaboration with UCLA, Duke, Emory, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization and USC, including Jeffrey M, Heather McCreath and Teresa Seeman from UCLA, studied the effects of resilience, an individual’s ability to bounce back in the face of adversity, on the immune system of former child soldiers in Nepal. To study this interaction, researchers interviewed former child soldiers and collected blood samples for analysis. The study found that these children were more likely to have PTSD and the CTRA gene, which is a marker of chronic inflammation. High presence of the CTRA gene can make individuals more susceptible to depression and anxiety. The study also found soldiers with higher self-rated resilience had lower levels of CTRA expression, which is evidence of the power of resilience to override the harmful effects of PTSD. 

Read more at The Atlantic