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Subtle neurologic compromise as a vulnerability factor for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: results of a twin study.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 May; 63(5):571-6.AG

Abstract

CONTEXT

Previous studies have demonstrated subtle neurologic dysfunction in chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) manifest as increased neurologic soft signs (NSSs). The origin of this dysfunction is undetermined.

OBJECTIVE

To resolve competing origins of increased NSSs in PTSD, namely, preexisting vulnerability factor vs acquired PTSD sign.

DESIGN

Case-control study of identical twins.

SETTING

A Veterans Affairs and academic medical center (ambulatory).

PARTICIPANTS

A convenience sample of male Vietnam veteran twins with (n = 25) and without (n = 24) PTSD and their combat-unexposed identical (monozygotic) co-twins.

INTERVENTIONS

Neurologic examination for 45 NSSs.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE

Average scores for 45 NSSs, each scored on an ordinal scale from 0 to 3, masked to diagnosis and combat exposure status.

RESULTS

There was a significant between-pair main effect of PTSD diagnosis (as determined in the combat-exposed twin) on average NSS score in the absence of a significant combat exposure main effect or diagnosis x exposure interaction. Combat veterans with PTSD had significantly higher NSS scores than combat veterans without PTSD. The "high-risk," unexposed co-twins of the former also had significantly higher NSS scores than the "low-risk," unexposed co-twins of the latter. This result could not be explained by age, number of potentially traumatic lifetime noncombat events, alcoholism, or the presence of a comorbid affective or anxiety disorder. The average NSS score in unexposed co-twins was not significantly associated with combat severity in combat-exposed twins.

CONCLUSIONS

These results replicate previous findings of increased NSSs in Vietnam combat veterans with PTSD. Furthermore, results from their combat-unexposed identical co-twins support the conclusion that subtle neurologic dysfunction in PTSD is not acquired along with the trauma or PTSD but rather represents an antecedent familial vulnerability factor for developing chronic PTSD on exposure to a traumatic event.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Research Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Manchester, NH, USA.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Twin Study

Language

eng

PubMed ID

16651514

Citation

Gurvits, Tamara V., et al. "Subtle Neurologic Compromise as a Vulnerability Factor for Combat-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Results of a Twin Study." Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 63, no. 5, 2006, pp. 571-6.
Gurvits TV, Metzger LJ, Lasko NB, et al. Subtle neurologic compromise as a vulnerability factor for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: results of a twin study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006;63(5):571-6.
Gurvits, T. V., Metzger, L. J., Lasko, N. B., Cannistraro, P. A., Tarhan, A. S., Gilbertson, M. W., Orr, S. P., Charbonneau, A. M., Wedig, M. M., & Pitman, R. K. (2006). Subtle neurologic compromise as a vulnerability factor for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: results of a twin study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63(5), 571-6.
Gurvits TV, et al. Subtle Neurologic Compromise as a Vulnerability Factor for Combat-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Results of a Twin Study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006;63(5):571-6. PubMed PMID: 16651514.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Subtle neurologic compromise as a vulnerability factor for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: results of a twin study. AU - Gurvits,Tamara V, AU - Metzger,Linda J, AU - Lasko,Natasha B, AU - Cannistraro,Paul A, AU - Tarhan,Alexandra S, AU - Gilbertson,Mark W, AU - Orr,Scott P, AU - Charbonneau,Anna M, AU - Wedig,Michelle M, AU - Pitman,Roger K, PY - 2006/5/3/pubmed PY - 2006/6/1/medline PY - 2006/5/3/entrez SP - 571 EP - 6 JF - Archives of general psychiatry JO - Arch Gen Psychiatry VL - 63 IS - 5 N2 - CONTEXT: Previous studies have demonstrated subtle neurologic dysfunction in chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) manifest as increased neurologic soft signs (NSSs). The origin of this dysfunction is undetermined. OBJECTIVE: To resolve competing origins of increased NSSs in PTSD, namely, preexisting vulnerability factor vs acquired PTSD sign. DESIGN: Case-control study of identical twins. SETTING: A Veterans Affairs and academic medical center (ambulatory). PARTICIPANTS: A convenience sample of male Vietnam veteran twins with (n = 25) and without (n = 24) PTSD and their combat-unexposed identical (monozygotic) co-twins. INTERVENTIONS: Neurologic examination for 45 NSSs. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Average scores for 45 NSSs, each scored on an ordinal scale from 0 to 3, masked to diagnosis and combat exposure status. RESULTS: There was a significant between-pair main effect of PTSD diagnosis (as determined in the combat-exposed twin) on average NSS score in the absence of a significant combat exposure main effect or diagnosis x exposure interaction. Combat veterans with PTSD had significantly higher NSS scores than combat veterans without PTSD. The "high-risk," unexposed co-twins of the former also had significantly higher NSS scores than the "low-risk," unexposed co-twins of the latter. This result could not be explained by age, number of potentially traumatic lifetime noncombat events, alcoholism, or the presence of a comorbid affective or anxiety disorder. The average NSS score in unexposed co-twins was not significantly associated with combat severity in combat-exposed twins. CONCLUSIONS: These results replicate previous findings of increased NSSs in Vietnam combat veterans with PTSD. Furthermore, results from their combat-unexposed identical co-twins support the conclusion that subtle neurologic dysfunction in PTSD is not acquired along with the trauma or PTSD but rather represents an antecedent familial vulnerability factor for developing chronic PTSD on exposure to a traumatic event. SN - 0003-990X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/16651514/Subtle_neurologic_compromise_as_a_vulnerability_factor_for_combat_related_posttraumatic_stress_disorder:_results_of_a_twin_study_ L2 - https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/10.1001/archpsyc.63.5.571 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -