This Israeli scientific breakthrough can help soldiers suffering from PTSD

“We hope that this new discovery might promote easier diagnosis of post-traumatic veteran soldiers so they can receive appropriate treatment,” said Prof. Illana Gozes from Tel Aviv University.


Israeli researchers studying soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have discovered the presence of certain bacteria in the saliva that appears to indicate post-trauma in veteran soldiers.

In the study, the researchers characterized the psychological, social, and medical conditions of about 200 veteran soldiers, while at the same time collecting saliva samples from them. The findings show that the soldiers who were suffering from post-trauma presented a typical microbial picture (signature) in their saliva.

The study found that about a third of the participants who suffered from PTSD had never been diagnosed as such, so they never received any recognition from the Ministry of Defense and the official authorities.

The scientific breakthrough by researchers at the Tel Aviv and Haifa Universities may facilitate speedy, objective and accurate diagnosis of people suffering from PTSD using saliva samples.

The findings of this study show a typical microbial picture in the saliva of veteran soldiers who had experienced combat stress-related reactions from the 1982 First Lebanon War and are currently suffering from post-trauma.

According to the researchers, these results may help develop future microbiotic-related medications, associated with the body’s microbial ecology.

Read  Israelis discover how to boost success rate of fertility treatments

The study was a joint effort led by Professor Illana Gozes and included Professor Noam Shomron, Dr. Shlomo Sragovich, and Ph.D. student Guy Shapira, all from TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience, as well as Prof. Zahava Solomon from TAU’s Gershon Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences, and Prof. Abraham Sagi-Schwartz and Ph.D. student Ella Levert-Levitt from the Center for the Study of Child Development and the School of Psychological Sciences at Haifa University.

The 200 Israeli veteran soldiers were tested for various psychological aspects, including sleep, appetite disorders, guilt, suicidal thoughts, social and spousal support, hostility, satisfaction with life, as well as issues of demographics, psychopathology, welfare, health, and education.

Comparing the results of the subjects’ microbial distribution to the psychological results and their responses to the welfare questionnaires, the researchers found that people with PTSD and high psychopathological indications exhibit the same unique oral microbiotic signature.

It is interesting to note that the saliva bacteria of those exposed to air pollution showed a correlation to the picture with PTSD, while the number of years of education showed a protective influence and a reverse picture of the microbial ecology in the saliva.

Prof. Gozes stated that “to the best of our knowledge, this is the first depiction of a microbial signature in the saliva among veteran soldiers with PTSD. It must be stressed that until now, post-trauma diagnosis has been based solely on psychological and psychiatric measures.”

Read  Israelis discover new COVID treatment that makes vaccines obsolete

“Thanks to this study, it may be possible, in the future, to use objective molecular and biological characteristics to distinguish PSTD sufferers, taking into account environmental influences,” she added.

“We hope that this new discovery and the microbial signatures described in this study might promote easier diagnosis of post-traumatic veteran soldiers so they can receive appropriate treatment,” she said.