Daily Briefing – October 9, 2019

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, affecting some 8 million adults at some point in their lifetime in the United States. Despite this, it is not clear why only some people who experience a traumatic event develop PTSD. Some researchers have suggested that the disorder is only a social construct, but previous studies have hinted that genetics plays a role. A new study identifies a clear biological basis for PTSD. In the largest and most diverse genetic study of PTSD to date, scientists from University of California San Diego School of Medicine and more than 130 additional institutions participating in the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium have found that PTSD has a strong genetic component similar to other psychiatric disorders. Genetics, they write in Nature Communications, accounts for between five and 20 percent of the variability in PTSD risk following a traumatic event.”

“Stanford University will change its leave of absence policies to better accommodate students who are facing mental illness crises. The decision, which goes into effect next year, results from a settlement agreement with a group of students who say they were prodded to leave campus by administrators. The coalition of Stanford students sued the university last year to change its involuntary leave of absence policy, arguing that it barred students from the university after incidents where they were deemed to present a risk to themselves or others, instead of providing solutions to keep them in classes, according to the complaint. Several students named in the class action lawsuit attempted suicide then had their university housing privileges revoked, or they were threatened with expulsion if leave was not taken.”