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Inflamed by the Flames? The Impact of Terrorism and War on Immunity


  • This study was made possible, in part, by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH073687) and the Ohio Board of Regents. This work was supported by the following grants from the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health: 1 R01 MH073587-01A2, Terrorism and Traumatic Responding: Exposure and Resiliency Factors; NIH-NHLBI 1P50HL105189, Rush Center for Urban Health Equity, and NIH RO1AT007 143, Biological and Psychological Factors as Predictors and Indicators of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Response. We are grateful to Dennis Kahn for assistance with project coordination and data collection, Iris Lavi for assistance with data collection, Ori Rogowski (Souraski Medical Center) for orientation and supervision of the biological assays collection and data storage, and the Mahshov Research Institute for complex data collection amid ongoing conflict.


The physiological impact on citizens of prolonged exposure to violence and conflict is a crucial, yet underexplored, issue within the political science and biology literature. We examined the effect of high levels of exposure to rocket and terrorist attacks on biological markers of immunity and inflammation in a sample of 92 Israelis. A stratified random sample of individuals was drawn from a pool of subjects in Israel who had previously been interviewed regarding their stress exposure and psychological distress during a period of active rocket and terrorist attacks. These individuals were reinterviewed and blood samples were collected to assess antibodies to cytomegalovirus (CMV antibodies) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was significantly related to CRP, β = .33, p = .034, with body mass index, depression, and exposure to terrorism included in the model. Depression scores were not significantly associated with CRP or CMV antibody levels. In contrast to the established convention that psychological distress is the sole outcome of terrorism exposure, these findings reveal that individuals exposed to terrorism experience higher levels of both PTSD/depression, and inflammation. This study has important ramifications for how policy makers and medical health professionals should formulate public health policies and medically treat individuals living in conflict zones.

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撮要:長期經歷暴力和衝突的市民的生理影響是關鍵性的,但政治科學和生物學文獻中少有研究。樣本是92名以色列人,我們檢視火箭炮和恐怖襲擊的高度經歷水平對他們免疫及發炎的生物標誌影響。從一批曾經歷激烈火箭炮和恐怖襲擊時期,而接受壓力經歷和心理困擾方面會訪的以色列人中,抽取一個分層隨機樣本,再會見及抽血化驗巨細胞病毒抗體(CMV抗體)和C反應蛋白(CRP)。創傷後壓力症(PTSD)與CRP統計上顯著相關,; = .33, p = .034,而模型中包括BMI,抑鬱和恐怖主義經歷。抑鬱評分未與CRP(或CMV抗體水平)有效相關。對比固有慣例,即心理困擾是恐怖主義經歷的唯一後果,本研究揭示恐怖主義經歷人士有着更高PTSD/抑鬱水平和發炎,亦令決策者和醫務人員在制訂公共醫療政策和醫治戰鬥區域居民時有重大啟示。


撮要:长期经历暴力和冲突对市民的生理有很重大的影响,但政治科学和生物学文献中少有研究。样本是92名以色列人,我们检视火箭炮和恐怖袭击的高度经历水平对他们免疫及发炎的生物标志的影响。从一批曾经历激烈火箭炮和恐怖袭击时期,而接受压力经历和心理困扰方面会访的以色列人中,抽取一个分层随机样本,再会见及抽血化验巨细胞病毒抗体(CMV抗体)和C反应蛋白(CRP)。创伤后压力症(PTSD)与CRP统计上显着相关,β= .33, p = .034,而模型中包括BMI, 抑郁和恐怖主义经历。抑郁评分未与CRP(或CMV抗体水平)有效相关。对比固有惯例,即心理困扰是恐怖主义经历的唯一后果,本研究揭示恐怖主义经历人士有着更高PTSD/抑郁水平和发炎,亦令决策者和医务人员在制订公共医疗政策和医治战斗区域居民时有重大启示。