Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Missing link between mental health disorders and chronic diseases in Iraq war refugees

Date:
October 15, 2012
Source:
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research
Summary:
Researchers may have discovered why people exposed to war are at increased risk to develop chronic problems like heart disease years later. And the culprit that links the two is surprising.

Wayne State University School of Medicine researchers may have discovered why people exposed to war are at increased risk to develop chronic problems like heart disease years later. And the culprit that links the two is surprising.

Beginning in the mid-2000s, WSU researchers interviewed a random sample of 145 American immigrants who left Iraq before the 1991 Gulf War, and 205 who fled Iraq after the Gulf War began. All were residing in metropolitan Detroit at the time of the study. Study subjects were asked about socio-demographics, pre-migration trauma, how they rated their current health, physician-diagnosed and physician-treated obstructive sleep apnea, somatic disorders and psychosomatic disorders. Those who left Iraq after the war began and suffered from mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and self-rated their physical health as worse than their actual health, were 43 times more likely than pre-Gulf War immigrants to report obstructive sleep apnea (30.2 percent versus 0.7 percent) and later develop major chronic health issues such as cardiovascular disease.

"I was surprised, but we had a specific theory we wanted to test. Changes in the stress system would contribute to sleep apnea. What happens? Maybe it's the stress that leads to this fractured sleep," said Bengt Arnetz, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., School of Medicine professor of occupational and environmental health, deputy director of the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at Wayne State, and the study's principal investigator and first author. "No one had explored this possible link before, although basic research suggests it as plausible."

The results are featured in the October 2012 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Psychosomatic Society.

According to the article, "Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and Health in Immigrants," obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles supporting the soft palate at the back of the throat relax, but less is known about the reasons behind this neuromuscular malfunctioning.

"It's a known fact that the more exposure to violence you have, the more likely you are to report PTSD and depression, and the worse your self-rated health is, the more likely your actual health will suffer in five to 10 years," Arnetz said.

Hikmet Jamil, M.D., Ph.D., professor of occupational and environmental health in WSU's School of Medicine, and Thomas Templin, Ph.D., research professor in WSU's College of Nursing, also contributed to the article.

The obstructive sleep apnea and chronic disase link has been observed among many trauma-exposed populations, including refugees, Arnetz said.

"Iraqis were exposed to harsh conditions during the entirety of Saddam Hussein's more than 20 years of reign. However, trauma and environmental exposures increased measurably and dramatically after the initiation of the 1991 Gulf War," the article states.

The study can now be used as a model for other populations, including U.S. soldiers returning home from battle.

The multidisciplinary study brought together mental health research, sleep research and chronic disease research, Arnetz said.

He and Jamil were partially supported by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health (award number R01MH085793).

To further test their ideas, the researchers plan to apply for funding from the National Institutes of Health to collaborate with Safwan Badr, M.D., professor and chief of the School of Medicine's Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, and Thomas Roth, Ph.D., director of the Henry Ford Sleep Disorders and Research Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. B. Arnetz, T. Templin, W. Saudi, H. Jamil. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Health in Immigrants. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2012; 74 (8): 824 DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e31826bf1ec

Cite This Page:

Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research. "Missing link between mental health disorders and chronic diseases in Iraq war refugees." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015131817.htm>.
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research. (2012, October 15). Missing link between mental health disorders and chronic diseases in Iraq war refugees. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015131817.htm
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research. "Missing link between mental health disorders and chronic diseases in Iraq war refugees." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015131817.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Health officials warn that without further intervention, the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach 1.4 million by January. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins