A new study of blood samples from US Marines has identified genetic markers associated with post-traumatic stress disorder that are also linked to the immune system response. The research team – from the US and UK – says the discovery could lead to new diagnostic techniques and treatments for the condition, as well as predict which individuals are most at risk for the disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur after experiencing a terrifying event or situation. Violent assaults, accidents, natural or human-caused disasters and military combat are some common triggers of PTSD.

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