MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Baker: The main finding of this study is that a marker of peripheral inflammation, plasma CRP may be prospectively associated with PTSD symptom emergence, suggesting that inflammation may predispose to PTSD.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Baker: While these were new findings, they had been hypothesized, and were therefore not totally unexpected.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Baker: Implications for clinicians are that:
1) In their patients with PTSD, they should be on the alert for physical co-morbidities known to be associated with inflammation, such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis in their patients with PTSD. Reduction in inflammation in those patients may help prevent these secondary physical conditions that are more frequent in PTSD patients.
Moreover, in light of the findings in the paper by Eraly et al., lowering inflammation may be a good strategy for primary prevention of PTSD in individuals exposed to extreme stress.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Baker: It will be important to replicate these findings. If they are replicated, the next step will be to better understand the causal relationships between psychiatric disorders and inflammation, which are likely to be complex. A better understanding may lead to better interventions and/or treatments, and may also help us understand the observed relationship between PTSD and co-occurring medical disorders, such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease and allergies/arthritis.
Eraly SA, Nievergelt CM, Maihofer AX, et al. Assessment of Plasma C-Reactive Protein as a Biomarker of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Risk. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;():. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.4374.