Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty


Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 7, 2011

AIG, CNA, and ACE are causing  your general health to deteriorate with every day that they deny you diagnoses and treatment of PTSD.

AIG, CNA, ACE even contribute to many injured contractors  MDD and PTSD with these negligent and bad faith insurance practices.


Reasearch Examines Link between PTSD and Inflamation

BETHESDA, MD—The science into the biological mechanisms behind the psychological symptoms of PTSD is still in its infancy, but studies have linked PTSD to other serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, fatigue, and metabolic disorders. Research funded by NIH is suggesting that the cause of this link might have its roots in endocrine and immune function differences in patients with PTSD and most significantly in those with co-morbid major depressive disorder.

Inflammation and PTSD

“PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD) share a common vulnerability along the experience of a trauma, such that they are highly comorbid. Depression is a significant risk factor for the onset of PTSD following a trauma,” explained Jessica Gill, PhD, RN, an assistant clinical investigator at the National Institute of Nursing Research, during an NIH clinical center lecture last month. “When the two diseases are comorbid, additional medical conditions present, including conditions that have an inflammatory pathology.”

Gill’s research over the last few years has led her to describe the endocrine and immune function differences in patients with PTSD and MDD, and to link inflammatory risks in those patients with subsequent physical health decline. “We need to understand why PTSD is often related to low levels of cortisol, especially when MDD is comorbid,” Gill said. “It’s counterintuitive to what we would think since stress such as trauma is associated with high levels of cortisol and over-activation of that system.”

It is also counterintuitive to find lower levels of cortisol—a glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal gland in times of stress—in patients with PTSD and MDD, since depression alone is associated with higher levels of plasma cortisol, Gill added. And yet in individuals who experience early life trauma and have MDD without PTSD, studies show lower levels of cortisol in their systems.

Studies have also found that patients with PTSD and comorbid MDD have greater levels of the inflammatory marker interleukin-6 (IL-6). “Studies of Katrina survivors and survivors of myocardial infarctions show higher levels of IL-6 in those patients with PTSD and MDD. But when depression is controlled for, these findings are no longer significant,” Gill explained.

In a study published in 2008, Gill looked at baseline endocrine and immune function in women with PTSD, women with PTSD and comorbid MDD, and controls. She and her colleagues found that cortisol was significantly lower in those women with PTSD and inflammatory markers were significantly higher. There was also a trend of elevation in the PTSD and MDD group compared to PTSD alone. There were similar findings in a previous study of male and female refugees.

However, in studies of male combat veterans with PTSD and no MDD, there were higher immune cell counts in relation to cortisol levels.

A 2009 study by Gill looked at overnight levels of endocrine and immune markers in PTSD and MDD patient populations, and added the injection of hydrocortisone upon waking. The study confirmed that individuals with PTSD and MDD had significantly reduced levels of cortisol, especially in the morning hours. The researchers focused on nocturnal levels because patients with PTSD frequently suffer from sleep/wake cycle disturbances that significantly impact health. Also, high levels of IL-6 prior to waking have been shown to be a significant risk factor for myocardial infarction.

The study found IL-6 to be significantly elevated in the PTSD and MDD group. But it was the PTSD without MDD group that was hyper-responsive to the administration of hydrocortisone. For those patients with PTSD and MDD, even after administration of hydrocortisone, their IL-6 levels remained significantly higher. This could have significant impact on patient health, since inflammatory markers have been linked to significant risk for mortality and morbidity.

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