Cardiovascular disorders (CVD) are associated with acute and posttraumatic stress responses, yet biological processes underlying this association are poorly understood. This study examined whether renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system activity, as indicated by a functional single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) gene, is associated with both CVD and acute stress related to the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks.
Objective: Trauma exposure can precipitate acute/post-traumatic stress responses (AS/PTSD) and disabling cardiovascular disorders (CVD). Identifying acute stress-related physiologic changes that may increase CVD risk could inform development of early CVD-prevention strategies. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response and stress-related cardiovascular function. We examine stress-related endocannabinoid system (ECS) activity and its association with cardiovascular biochemistry/function following acute stress.
Approximately 2 weeks after September 11th, adolescents from a national sample of households who were indirectly exposed to the terrorist attacks through the media completed a Web-based survey that assessed event-related acute stress symptoms. One year later, these adolescents (N = 142) and a randomly selected parent from their household completed a second survey.
CONTEXT: The September 11, 2001, attacks against the United States provide a unique opportunity to examine longitudinally the process of adjustment to a traumatic event on a national scale.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the degree to which demographic factors, mental and physical health history, lifetime exposure to stressful events, September 11-related experiences, and coping strategies used shortly after the attacks predict psychological outcomes over time.