The presence of certain bacteria in saliva
- In the study, researchers characterized the psychological, social and medical status of about 200 veteran soldiers, while taking saliva samples from them. The results show that soldiers who suffered from post-trauma had a typical microbial picture (signature) in their saliva.
- The study found that about a third of the participants who suffered from PTSD had never been diagnosed as such, so they never received recognition from the Ministry of Defense and official authorities.
A scientific breakthrough from the universities of Tel Aviv and Haifa could facilitate rapid, objective and accurate diagnosis of people with PTSD using saliva samples. As part of the study, researchers characterized the psychological, social and medical conditions of about 200 participants, while taking saliva samples from them.
The results of this study show a typical microbial picture in the saliva of veteran soldiers who had suffered combat stress reactions (since the first Lebanon war) and who are currently suffering from post-trauma.
According to the researchers, these results could help in the future to establish an accurate and objective diagnosis of people suffering from post-trauma and to develop drugs related to microbiotics (associated with the microbial ecology of the organism).
This study was published in nature prestigious MOLECULAR PSYCHIATRY magazine.
The study was a joint effort of leading researchers from various fields. It was led by Professor Illana Gozes and included Professor Noam Shomron, Dr. Shlomo Sragovich and a Ph.D. student Guy Shapira, (all from TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience ) as well as Professor Zahava Solomon of TAU’s Gershon Gordon School of Social Sciences, and Professor Abraham Sagi-Schwartz and PhD student Ella Levert-Levitt of the Center for the Study of Child Development and School of Psychological Sciences from the University of Haifa. The study participants came from a larger cohort of subjects from a comprehensive four-decade study of veterans led by Professor Solomon.
This study was also supported by the Department of Health and Welfare of the IDF Medical Corps and Dr. Ariel Ben Yehuda, former head of the above department and currently department head at the Mental Health Medical Center of Shalvata, Clallit Health Services. The study also involved collaboration with Charité University Medicine in Berlin and its microbiology experts, Dr Markus M. Heimesaat and Professor Stefan Bereswill, as well as the University of Hong Kong, which studies the effects of air pollution, professors Victor Li and Jacqueline Lam.
Researchers tested a unique group of around 200 Israeli veteran soldiers who had fought in the First Lebanon War in 1982. The test covered various psychological aspects, including sleep, appetite disorders, guilt, thoughts suicide, social and marital support, hostility, life satisfaction, as well as issues of demographics, psychopathology, well-being, health and education.
By comparing the results of the microbial distribution of the subjects with the psychological results and their responses to the well-being questionnaires, researchers from the universities of Tel Aviv and Haifa found that people with PTSD and high psychopathological indications presented the same picture of bacteria in saliva (a unique oral microbiotic signature). According to the researchers, this study is significant insofar as, for the first time, we could be able to diagnose a post-traumatic patient by objective criteria and not only behavioral ones. It is interesting to note here that salivary bacteria of people exposed to air pollution showed a correlation with the image with PTSD, while the number of years of education showed a protective influence and an image reverse of microbial ecology in saliva.
Teacher. Illana Gozes: “To our knowledge, this is the first depiction of a microbial signature in the saliva of veteran soldiers with PTSD. We were surprised to find that approximately one-third of subjects with PTSD had never received a post-trauma diagnosis, so they never received recognition from the Department of Defense and official authorities.
It should be emphasized that until now, post-traumatic diagnosis was based solely on psychological and psychiatric measures. With this study, it may be possible in the future to use objective molecular and biological characteristics to distinguish people with PSTD, taking into account environmental influences. We hope that this new finding and the microbial signatures described in this study may support easier diagnosis of post-traumatic veteran soldiers so that they can receive appropriate treatment.”
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Oral microbiota signatures in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) veterans
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