The Fight Against Trauma is Happening Now
With the recurrence of heartbreaking attacks such as the recent Fort-Lauderdale shooting, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has become a more known and talked about topic in America. While experts to claim PTSD was not the main cause of said Fort-Lauderdale shooting, untreated veterans with PTSD have become a more present topic when discussing violence in America. Lady Gaga also recently opened up about her struggle with PTSD and how she copes with it. By doing so she has helped the American public understand that sexual assault is a serious issue that may result in lasting trauma.
According to the American Psychological Association, “PTSD is an anxiety problem that develops in some people after extremely traumatic events, such as combat, crime, an accident or natural disaster. People with PTSD may relive the event via intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares; avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma; and have anxious feelings they didn’t have before that are so intense their lives are disrupted.” As Americans have become more aware of PTSD, some amazing researchers have made strides towards understanding the genetic groundwork of the disorder.
The female dominated team- lead by Alicia K. Smith, Ph.D.- “found that variations in NLGN1 are associated with increased activity in the areas of the brain that control fear and memory, and that people with variations in NLGN1 also have a more sensitive startle response.” This discovery was possible as previous research had already indicated that the disease is partly caused by inherited gene mutations. This greater understanding of the mutations of the NLGN1 gene “provides insight into the genetic underpinnings of PTSD and offers potential pathways for researchers looking to understand how the disease arises.”
Not only is it uplifting to see more advancements in the field of mental health, but getting to see women scientists being recognized for their work right now is incredibly refreshing. Readers are always encouraged to check out our instagram page @thewomenofvenus to see women throughout history and their scientific achievements every Saturday. And while being able to look back at extraordinary women of the past in scientific fields across the board is moving, we must remember that we have the chance to write history correctly today.
Alicia K. Smith, a woman with a Ph.D., lead a team of researchers- 5 out of the 7 scientists being women- towards a greater understanding of PTSD. That’s history. That’s fact.