Altered Pituitary Gland Structure and Function in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Full study posted on National Library of Medicine

Odelia Cooper,1 Vivien Bonert,1 Franklin Moser,2 James Mirocha,3 and Shlomo Melmed1



Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to stressors, but links to neurophysiological and neuroanatomical changes are unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine whether stress-induced cortisol alters negative feedback on pituitary corticotroph function and pituitary volume.

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Can PTSD symptoms be traced to concussion-induced pituitary damage?

Original article posted in LA Times written by Alan Zarembo

Concussions from bomb blasts and post-traumatic stress disorder — the two signature wounds of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — can be difficult to distinguish from each other. Cognitive problems, sleep trouble and irritability are common symptoms of both.

Up to 44% of veterans who suffered concussions involving a loss of consciousness also meet criteria for PTSD, military researchers have found.

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Blast Concussions Could Cause Pituitary Deficiencies in War Vets

By Bobbi Nodell
UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Many veterans suffering from blast concussions may have hormone deficiencies that mimic some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, according to researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and the University of Washington.

The researchers screened 35 veterans with blast injuries. They found that 42 percent had irregular hormone levels indicative of hypopituitarism, a condition that can often be controlled by replacing the deficient hormones.

"This could be a largely missed opportunity for successful treatment," said Charles W. Wilkinson, study leader and a UW research associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

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