Nature or Nurture: PTSD and the Amy Bishop Shooting

After surviving Amy Bishop shooting, UAH professor Joseph Ng launches research on PTSD

According to Eric Seemann, a psychology professor at UAH who is working with [UAH biology professor Dr. Joseph] Ng on the research project, most PTSD candidates never develop it. He estimates that only 10 to 20 percent are appropriately diagnosed with PTSD and that other candidates gradually recapture normalcy or suffer from lesser issues than PTSD.

“Most of the time, 85 percent, people do not develop PTSD,” Seeman said. “Why is that? Joe’s hypothesis is based on biological markers of resilience.”

Drs. Ng and Seemann are into some interesting stuff here.  You have the molecular biologist and the psychologist coming at the problem from the nature/nurture axes.  Who’s right?  That’s why you research.

“Every one of us has a different experience in terms of building up our immune system,” Ng said. “The day you were born, even by virtue of whether born by natural birth or C-section, will give you a different biome. So every human individual will have a different type of biome. That defines your immune system.

“So that means, why are some people more prone to getting sick? Or even to the extreme of being very sensitive to cancer? We said if that’s the case, if your immune system can be compromised or defined, is there a pattern of gene expression for immunity that may be associated with PTSD?”

Seemann brings an additional perspective to the study. In addition to possible biomarkers that Ng is searching for, Seemann said he believes environment plays a role as well in how PTSD affects a person.

I look forward to seeing what they find out.

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