WESTWOOD—UCLA scientists have discovered specific genes that are linked to a predisposition to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The study was published in the February 2015 edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders, and is significant because it answers the question of why some people suffer from PTSD and others do not.

The findings also provide a “biological basis for diagnosing and treating PTSD more effectively in the future,” according to the UCLA news release.

According to the statement, “PTSD affects about 7 percent of Americans and became a pressing health issue for a large percentage of war veterans returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The researcher who spearheaded the study, Dr. Armen Goenjian, argues, “Our findings…help scientists uncover more refined treatments, such as gene therapy or new drugs that regulate the chemicals associated with PTSD symptoms.”

Dr. Goenjian’s is a research professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. His co-authors are Ernest Noble and Sugandha Dandekar, both of UCLA; Alan Steinberg, UCLA/Duke National Childhood Center for Traumatic Stress; David Walling from the Collaborative Neuroscience Network; and Sofia Stepanian from the University of California at Riverside.