Publications by authors named "Romana Babic"

24 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Association of polygenic risk scores, traumatic life events and coping strategies with war-related PTSD diagnosis and symptom severity in the South Eastern Europe (SEE)-PTSD cohort.

J Neural Transm (Vienna) 2021 Nov 27. Epub 2021 Nov 27.

Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Center, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Objectives: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is triggered by extremely stressful environmental events and characterized by high emotional distress, re-experiencing of trauma, avoidance and hypervigilance. The present study uses polygenic risk scores (PRS) derived from the UK Biobank (UKBB) mega-cohort analysis as part of the PGC PTSD GWAS effort to determine the heritable basis of PTSD in the South Eastern Europe (SEE)-PTSD cohort. We further analyzed the relation between PRS and additional disease-related variables, such as number and intensity of life events, coping, sex and age at war on PTSD and CAPS as outcome variables.

Methods: Association of PRS, number and intensity of life events, coping, sex and age on PTSD were calculated using logistic regression in a total of 321 subjects with current and remitted PTSD and 337 controls previously subjected to traumatic events but not having PTSD. In addition, PRS and other disease-related variables were tested for association with PTSD symptom severity, measured by the Clinician Administrated PTSD Scale (CAPS) by liner regression. To assess the relationship between the main outcomes PTSD diagnosis and symptom severity, each of the examined variables was adjusted for all other PTSD related variables.

Results: The categorical analysis showed significant polygenic risk in patients with remitted PTSD and the total sample, whereas no effects were found on symptom severity. Intensity of life events as well as the individual coping style were significantly associated with PTSD diagnosis in both current and remitted cases. The dimensional analyses showed as association of war-related frequency of trauma with symptom severity, whereas the intensity of trauma yielded significant results independently of trauma timing in current PTSD.

Conclusions: The present PRS application in the SEE-PTSD cohort confirms modest but significant polygenic risk for PTSD diagnosis. Environmental factors, mainly the intensity of traumatic life events and negative coping strategies, yielded associations with PTSD both categorically and dimensionally with more significant p-values. This suggests that, at least in the present cohort of war-related trauma, the association of environmental factors and current individual coping strategies with PTSD psychopathology was stronger than the polygenic risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00702-021-02446-5DOI Listing
November 2021

Sensitive Skin in the Population of Herzegovina-Neretva County: Prevalenceand Clinical Data.

Psychiatr Danub 2020 Sep;32(Suppl 2):290-297

Department of Dermatology and Venereology, University Clinical Hospital Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Introduction: Sensitive skin has been described as a syndrome defined by the occurrence of unpleasant sensations (stinging, burning, pain, pruritus, and tingling sensations) in response to stimuli that normally should not provoke such sensations. Although often transient, and in many cases unaccompanied by visual dermatological responses, sensitive skin affects the quality of life. The aim of this survey was to assess the prevalence of sensitive skin and collect clinical data on sensitive skin in the population of Herzegovina-Neretva County.

Subjects And Methods: The survey included a total of 73 participants, 45 female and 28 male, aged 20 years and above, with a diagnosis of sensitive skin syndrome (SSS) confirmed by physicians. A dermatological exam assessing skin type, phototype and skin sensitivity was performed. The survey collected an assortment of information including demographics and included customized standardized questionnaires that closely examine skin sensitivity and the burden of sensitive skin.

Results: Findings concurred with existing evidence that individuals with sensitive skin represent almost half the examined population. The prevalence of perceived sensitive skin was significantly higher in females than in males. The main skin symptom was itching, followed by prickling, warmth and numbness. Our results clearly show that there is a burden of sensitive skin.

Conclusion: This study investigated the prevalence of sensitive skin and the burden of sensitive skin in the population of Herzegovina-Neretva County. It is the first to focus on sensitive skin among Herzegovina-Neretva County population. Further studies are needed to bolster epidemiological data and physiological pathways of sensitive skin syndrome.
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September 2020

Correlation of Religiousness with the Quality of Life and Psychological Symptoms in Oncology Patients.

Psychiatr Danub 2020 Sep;32(Suppl 2):254-261

Faculty of Health Studies, University of Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Introduction: Malignant diseases are one of the leading mortalities in the world, causing a range of psychological symptoms and reducing the quality of life in oncology patients. Examine the correlation of religion with the quality of life and psychological symptoms in oncology patients.

Subjects And Methods: The cross-sectional study included 100 oncology patients in the test group and 80 internal medicine patients in the control group. A sociodemographic questionnaire was specifically designed for this study, the Duke University Religion Index, the Symptom Check List 90, and the WHOQOL-100 quality of life assessment were used to collect the data.

Results: The average score in oncology patients was significantly lower on the subscales for physical health (p<0.000), social connections (p<0.002), and intrinsic religiousness (p<0.046) in comparison to internal medicine patients. On the psychological symptoms scale, the average score was higher in oncology patients with the largest difference observed on the psychoticism subscale (p<0.078).

Conclusion: Oncology patients are statistically less religious and are not satisfied with the quality of life in comparison to internal medicine patients. Psychological symptoms are more pronounced in oncology patients but the difference is not statistically significant. A lower level of religiousness is statistically negatively correlated with a higher severity of psychological symptoms.
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September 2020

Resilience in Health and Illness.

Psychiatr Danub 2020 Sep;32(Suppl 2):226-232

Faculty of Health Studies, University of Mostar, 88000 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Resilience is a relatively new concept that lacks clarity although it is increasingly used in everyday conversation and across various disciplines. The term was first introduced into psychology and psychiatry from technical sciences and afterwards thorough medicine and healthcare. It represents a complex set of various protective and salutogenic factors and process important for understanding health and illness, and treatment and healing processes. It is defined as a protective factor that makes an individual more resilient to adverse events that lead to positive developmental outcomes. Resilience is a positive adaptation after stressful situations and it represents mechanisms of coping and rising above difficult experiences, i.e., the capacity of a person to successfully adapt to change, resist the negative impact of stressors and avoid occurrence of significant dysfunctions. It represents the ability to return to the previous, so-called "normal" or healthy condition after trauma, accident, tragedy, or illness. In other words, resilience refers to the ability to cope with difficult, stressful and traumatic situations while maintaining or restoring normal functioning. The higher the resilience, the lower the vulnerability and risk of illness. Resilient individuals tend to be optimistic, have a tendency to see everything as a useful experience, focus on personal strengths and qualities, use constructive criticism, develop close relationships with others, have developed social skills, and are emotionally conscious. Good resilience aggravates and prevents the onset of disease, provides good heath, facilitates and accelerates healing, and provides productive life and a sense of well-being despite chronic illness. Resilience experts believe that anyone can strengthen their resilience and thus contribute to the advancement of health and, if ill, ease the illness, accelerate and facilitate healing.
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September 2020

Determinants of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the West Herzegovina Canton.

Psychiatr Danub 2020 Sep;32(Suppl 2):221-225

Faculty of Health Studies, University of Mostar, 88000 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

A study of COVID-19 infected patients was conducted regarding to organic and psychological characteristics. The findings of the study indicate that in the period of the pandemic in 2020, a total of 78 infection cases were confirmed in West Herzegovina Canton. Of the total number of infected, 55.1% are women and 44.9% are men. Of the infected population, 16.7% were hospitalized. By monitoring the COVID-19 disease in West Herzegovina Canton, we conclude how all manifestations of the disease were represented, from asymptomatic, through mild respiratory to the most severe clinical picture with fatal outcomes. The mortality rate in West Herzegovina Canton is 5.1%. The study showed that a total of 28.2% of COVID-19 positive patients before infecting with virus, were most likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes and malignancies. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that a total of 71.9% of those infected are without underlying diseases. Also, the results indicate that people with COVID-19 in addition to the characteristic symptoms of the disease (fever, fatigue, cough, etc.) had certain mental ailments such as decreased general mood, increased anxiety, panic attacks, acute stress disorder and others.
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September 2020

A Candidate Gene Association Study of FKBP5 and CRHR1 Polymorphisms in Relation to War-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Psychiatr Danub 2019 Jun;31(2):269-275

Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Centre Zagreb, Kispaticeva 12, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia,

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a highly frequent and disabling psychiatric condition among war-affected populations. The FK506-binding protein 5 (FKBP5) gene and the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1) gene have previously been implicated in an elevated risk of peritraumatic dissociation and PTSD development. Our aim was to investigate the association between FKBP5 and CRHR1 genotypes and PTSD diagnosis and severity among individuals who were affected by the Balkan wars during the 1990s.

Subjects And Methods: This study included participants with current PTSD, remitted PTSD and healthy volunteers (N=719, 487 males), who were recruited between 2013 and 2015 within the framework of the South Eastern Europe (SEE) - PTSD Study. Psychometric methods comprised the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.), the Clinician Administrated PTSD Scale (CAPS), and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). FKBP5 rs1360780 and CRHR1 rs17689918 genotypes were determined using a KASP genotyping assay.

Results: Tests for deviation from Hardy Weinberg equilibrium showed no significant results. Logistic and linear regression was used to examine the associations between the FKBP5 SNP rs1360780 and the CRHR1 SNP rs17689918 with PTSD diagnosis and severity, as well as general psychiatric symptom severity, separately for current and remitted PTSD patients. There were nominally significant associations under a dominant model between the rs1360780 C allele and PTSD diagnosis as well as symptom severity, which however, were not significant anymore after Bonferroni adjustment (α=0.002). For CRHR1 rs17689918 no significant associations were detected.

Conclusion: We found nominally, but not Bonferroni corrected significant associations between the FKBP5 polymorphism rs1360780 and PTSD susceptibility among individuals affected by the Balkan wars. For elucidating this gene's real resilience/vulnerability potential, environmental influences should be taken into account.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24869/psyd.2019.269DOI Listing
June 2019

The Role of TaqI DRD2 (rs1800497) and DRD4 VNTR Polymorphisms in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Psychiatr Danub 2019 Jun;31(2):263-268

Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Centre of Kosovo, Prishtina, Kosovo,

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex stress related disorder, that follows a severe traumatic experience, characterized with an intense sense of terror, fear, and helplessness. The aim of this study is to identify associations of genetic variations within candidate genes DRD2 and DRD4 with various PTSD related phenotypes. PTSD lifetime and PTSD current subjects were analyzed separately, each of them were analyzed in a Case/Control design, as well as regarding BSI and CAPS within cases only.

Subjects And Methods: 719 (487 male, 232 female) participants who had experienced war-related trauma between 1991 and 1999 in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo and Croatia were included in the study. Sociodemographic questionnaire, Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) were used to collect clinical data.

Results: The DRD2 rs1800497 variant and a variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) located in exon three of DRD4 were investigated for association with PTSD. In case control analyses we did not identify any significant associations. Within the PTSD current patients, we identified an association of DRD2 rs1800497 with BSI in the genotypic and the recessive model with the T allele as the risk allele.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that rs1800497 of DRD2 gene is involved in pathogenesis of PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24869/psyd.2019.263DOI Listing
June 2019

Role of the Allelic Variation in the 5-Hydroxytryptamine Receptor 1A (HTR1A) and the Tryptophan Hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) Genes in the Development of PTSD.

Psychiatr Danub 2019 Jun;31(2):256-262

Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Centre of Kosovo, Str, Hile Mosi, nr 11, 10000 Prishtina, Kosovo,

Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a stress related disorder which can occur in an individual after exposure to a traumatic event. It most commonly co-occurs with depression. The two disorders share not only overlapping symptoms, but also genetic diathesis. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential role of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the two serotonergic candidate genes 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1A (HTR1A) and tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) in the pathogenesis of PTSD and comorbid psychopathology.

Subjects And Methods: 719 (487 males, 232 females) participants who had experienced war-related trauma between 1991 and 1999 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Croatia were included in the study. The Sociodemographic questionnaire, Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.), Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) and Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) were used to collect clinical data. The SNPs rs6295 (HTR1A), rs11178997 and rs1386494 (TPH2) were investigated for their association with PTSD and comorbid psychopathology.

Results: A nominal significant association was found between the BSI total score in Lifetime PTSD with the SNP rs6295 of the HTR1A gene. The best result was seen in the dominant model (P=0.018), with the minor allele (C) being the risk allele. Several BSI subscores were also associated with the minor (C) allele in Lifetime PTSD. No association was found for the TPH2 SNPs rs11178997 and rs1386494 in relation to PTSD or comorbid psychopathology.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that rs6295 in the HTR1A gene may contribute to the psychopathology of PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24869/psyd.2019.256DOI Listing
June 2019

Association of Neuropeptide S Receptor 1 and Glutamate Decarboxylase 1 Gene Polymorphisms with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Psychiatr Danub 2019 Jun;31(2):249-255

Institute of Kosovo Forensic Psychiatry, University Clinical Centre of Kosovo, Prishtina, Kosovo.

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by highly traumatic experiences. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the neuropeptide S receptor 1 (NPSR1) and the glutamate decarboxylase 1(GAD1) gene on PTSD and its psychopathological aspects among individuals affected by the Balkan wars during the 90s.

Subjects And Methods: This study was conducted as part of the South Eastern Europe (SEE) study on molecular mechanisms of PTSD. It comprised 719 participants (539 males), including those with current PTSD, remitted PTSD and healthy volunteers. Psychometric evaluation was performed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.), the Clinician Administrated PTSD Scale (CAPS) andthe Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). We examined NPSR1 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs324981 and GAD1 variant rs3749034 genotypes. Case-control analyses were carried out using logistical regression to determine genotype differences between all patients that had either current or remitted PTSD and control individuals. To analyse the influence of the analysed SNPs on PTSD severity, we performed linear regression analyses with CAPS and BSI within each of the two patient groups separately. All of the calculations were performed for additive allelic, recessive, dominant and genotypic models.

Results: We observed a nominally significant association for the major allele (G) of GAD1 rs3749034 with an increased risk to develop PTSD in a case control analysis in the recessive model (P=0.0315, odds ratio=0.47, SE=0.35). In contrast, a nominally significant association of the minor allele (A) with higher CAPS scores was identified within the patient group with lifetime PTSD in the dominant model (P=0.0372, β=6.29, SE=2.99). None of these results did withstand correction for multiple tests. No nominal significant results of GAD1 rs3749034 were found with regard to the intensity of psychological BSI symptoms. Case-control analyses of NPSR1 rs324981 revealed a nominally significant higher risk for homozygous T allele carriers to develop PTSD (P=0.0452) in the recessive model. On the other hand, the T allele showed a nominally significant association with higher BSI scores in patients suffering from lifetime PTSD in the recessive model (P=0.0434). Again, these results were not significant anymore after correction for multiple tests. No associations of NPSR1 rs324981 and CAPS score was identified.

Conclusion: The findings of this study provide some evidence that the NPSR1 and GAD1 polymorphisms might play a role in the development of war-related PTSD and its related psychological expressions. Further research is needed to elucidate the interactions of specific gene variants and environmental factors in the development of PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24869/psyd.2019.249DOI Listing
June 2019

The Association of Catechol-O-Methyl-Transferase and Interleukin 6 Gene Polymorphisms with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Psychiatr Danub 2019 Jun;31(2):241-248

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, University Clinical Centre of Kosovo, Prishtina, Kosovo.

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that occurs in some people who have experienced a severe traumatic event. Several genetic studies suggest that gene encoding proteins of catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT) may be relevant for the pathogenesis of PTSD. Some researchers suggested that the elevation of interleukin-6 (IL6) correlates with major depression and PTSD. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the single nucleotide polymorphisms COMT rs4680 (Val158Met) and IL6 rs1800795 are associated with PTSD and contribute to the severity of PTSD symptoms.

Subjects And Methods: This study comprised 747 participants that experienced war between 1991 and 1999 in the South Eastern Europe conflicts. COMT rs4680 (Val158Met) and IL6 rs1800795 genotypes were determined in 719 participants (369 with and 350 without PTSD). The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.), the Clinician Administrated PTSD Scale (CAPS) questionnaire and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) were used for data collection.

Results: Regarding the COMT gene polymorphism, the results of the regression analyses for BSI total score were significant in the lifetime PTSD group in the dominant (P=0.031) and the additive allelic model (P=0.047). Regarding the IL6 gene, a significant difference was found for the recessive model predicting CAPS total score in the lifetime PTSD group (P=0.048), and indicated an association between the C allele and higher CAPS scores. n the allelic, genotypic and rezessive model, the results for BSI total score were significant in the lifetime PTSD group (P=0.033, P=0.028 and P=0.009), suggesting a correlation of the C allele with higher BSI scores.

Conclusion: Although our nominally significant results did not withstand correction for multiple tests they may support a relevance of the COMT (Val158Met) and IL6 rs1800795 polymorphism for aspects of PTSD in war traumatized individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24869/psyd.2019.241DOI Listing
June 2019

Associations between Polymorphisms in the Solute Carrier Family 6 Member 3 and the Myelin Basic Protein Gene and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Psychiatr Danub 2019 Jun;31(2):235-240

Community Health Center Zivinice, Alije Izetbegovica 17, 75270 Zivinice, Bosnia & Herzegovina,

Background: Previous research showed inconsistent results concerning a possible association between solute carrier family 6 member 3 (SLC6A3) gene polymorphisms and dopamine symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Several studies also indicate that the myelin basic protein (MBP) gene is of importance in the etiology of several psychiatric disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate the relation of distinct SLC6A3 and MBP gene polymorphisms with PTSD and whether SLC6A3 and MBP genotypes contribute to PTSD symptom severity.

Subjects And Methods: The study included 719 individuals who had experienced war trauma in the South Eastern Europe (SEE). Genotypes of variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphism within the SLC6A3 gene were assessed in 696 participants, and the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs12458282 located within the MBP gene region was genotyped in a total of 703 subjects. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, the Clinical Administrated PTSD Scale (CAPS) and Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), were used for data collection.

Results: No significant differences concerning the investigated SLC6A3 and MBP polymorphisms was identifiable between PTSD and non PTSD participants. Also we could not detect significant influence of these distinct SLC6A3 and MBP alleles on the severity of PTSD symptoms (CAPS) or BSI scores. However, the results of MBP rs12458282 within the patients with lifetime PTSD may point to a possible correlation of the major allele (T) with elevated CAPS scores.

Conclusions: Our results do not support an association of the analysed SLC6A3 and MBP gene polymorphisms with PTSD in war traumatized individuals. We found that there is a possibility for a correlation of the T allele rs12458282 within the MBP gene with higher CAPS scores in lifetime PTSD patients which would need to be tested in a sample providing more statistical power.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24869/psyd.2019.235DOI Listing
June 2019

Associations of Gene Variations in Neuropeptide Y and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor Genes with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Psychiatr Danub 2019 Jun;31(2):227-234

International Burch University, Department of Genetics and Bioengineering, Francuske revolucije bb, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Background: Individuals who are exposed to traumatic events are at an increased risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition during which an individual's ability to function is impaired by emotional responses to memories of those events. The gene coding for neuropeptide Y (NPY) and the gene coding for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are among the number of candidate gene variants that have been identified as potential contributors to PTSD. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between NPY and BDNF and PTSD in individuals who experienced war-related trauma in the South Eastern Europe (SEE) conflicts (1991-1999).

Subjects And Methods: This study included participants with current and remitted PTSD and healthy volunteers (N=719, 232 females, 487 males), who were recruited between 2013 and 2015 within the framework of the South Eastern Europe (SEE) - PTSD Study. Psychometric methods comprised the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.), the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). DNA was isolated from whole blood and genotyped for NPY rs5574 via PCR - RFLP and NPY rs16147 and BDNF rs6265 using the KASP assay.

Results: Tests for deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium showed no significant results. Analyses at the categorical level yielded no associations between the affected individuals and all three SNPs when compared to controls. Within lifetime PTSD patients, the major alleles of both NPY variants showed a nominally significant association with higher CAPS scores (p=0.007 and p=0.02, respectively). Also, the major allele of rs5574C>T was associated with higher BSI scores with a nominal significance among current PTSD patients (p=0.047). The results did not withstand a Bonferroni adjustment (α=0.002).

Conclusion: Nominally significant associations between NPY polymorphisms and PTSD susceptibility were found that did not withstand Bonferroni correction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24869/psyd.2019.227DOI Listing
June 2019

Genetic Susceptibility to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Analyses of the Oxytocin Receptor, Retinoic Acid Receptor-Related Orphan Receptor A and Cannabinoid Receptor 1 Genes.

Psychiatr Danub 2019 Jun;31(2):219-226

Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Center University Sarajevo, Bolnička 25, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Background: Exposure to life-threatening events is common and everyone will most likely experience this type of trauma during their lifetime. Reactions to these events are highly heterogeneous and seems to be influenced by genes as well. Some individuals will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while others will not. In this study, our aim was to analyze the correlation between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene (rs53576 and rs2254298), the RAR-related orphan receptor A (RORA) gene (rs8042149) and the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1) gene (rs1049353) and PTSD. All candidate genes have been previously associated with stress related disorders and the reaction to traumatic events.

Subjects And Methods: Participants (N=719) have been exposed to war-related trauma during the war in South-Eastern Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo). We correlated the presence and absence of current and lifetime PTSD as well as PTSD severity (Clinician Administered PTSD scale (CAPS)) and current psychopathology (Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) score) with the mentioned SNPs. DNA was isolated from whole blood and genotyped for OXTR rs2254298 and rs53576 following previously published protocols, for RORA rs8042149 via PCR-RFLP and CNR1 rs1049353 via KASP.

Results: Nominally significant results were found for OXTR rs53576 in connection with the CAPS and BSI scores within lifetime PTSD patients. The additive allelic model indicated that G allele carriers achieved lower CAPS (p=0.0090) and BSI (p=0.0408) scores than participants carrying one or two copies of the A allele. These results did not withstand correction for multiple tests. No significant results were observed for OXTR rs2254298, RORA rs8042149 and CNR1 rs1049353 although the results for RORA showed a slight tendency that rs8042149 may influence the level of BSI scores in current PTSD patients.

Conclusions: This study points to a role of the OXTR gene in PTSD and the related psychopathology following war related trauma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24869/psyd.2019.219DOI Listing
June 2019

Association Analysis of Maoa and Slc6a4 Gene Variation in South East European War Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Psychiatr Danub 2019 Jun;31(2):211-218

Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Centre Tuzla, Rate Dugonjića bb, 75000 Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Background: The aim of this study is to investigate the association of gene variations of the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and the serotonin transporter solute carrier family 6 member 4 (SLC6A4) gene with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) severity and coping strategies in patients with war related PTSD.

Subjects And Methods: The study included 747 individuals who had experienced war trauma in the South Eastern Europe conflicts between 1991 and 1999. Genotyping of the MAOA VNTR and SLC6A4 tandem repeat polymorphism in combination with rs25531 was done in 719 participants: 232 females and 487 males. Among them, 369 have had current or lifetime PTSD and 350 have had no PTSD symptoms. For psychometric approach we used the Clinician Administrated PTSD Scale (CAPS), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), the adapted Hoffman-Lazarus Coping scale and a basic socio-demographic data questionnaire.

Results: There were no significant intergroup (PTSD versus non PTSD) differences in the genotype distribution of MAOA and SLC6A4 gene polymorphisms. The primary finding of our study was that the MAOA short allele (MAOA-S) was nominally significantly associated with the severity of PTSD symptoms in the total subgroup of participants with lifetime PTSD; males for symptoms of hyperarrousal and females with symptoms of re-experience and hyperarousal. In our research the male subsample with current PTSD and MAOA-S genotype had nominally significantly higher scores for some positive coping strategies compared to those carrying the long allele genotype (MAOA-L). There was no significant association between the severity of PTSD symptoms, BSI phenotype, coping scores and the SLC6A4 genotype.

Conclusion: The present results support the notion that MAOA VNTR gene variation modulates development and recovery of posttraumatic stress disorder in a war traumatised population, but did not support a connection between SLC6A4 gene variations and war related PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.24869/psyd.2019.211DOI Listing
June 2019

Addictions without Drugs: Contemporary Addictions or Way of Life?

Psychiatr Danub 2018 Sep;30(Suppl 6):371-379

Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Hospital Mostar, Bijeli Brijeg bb, 88000 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

In the five thousand years of recorded history there is written evidence of various types of addiction. In recent decades scientists focus their attention on addictions without the immediate introduction of psychoactive substances into the organism or the so-called "addictions without drugs". Studies have revealed a number of similarities between drug addictions and addictions without drugs that also carry biological, psychological and social consequences in the form of addictive activity carvings, adrenaline alarm, dopamine and serotonin secretion, tolerance and abstinence syndrome same as classical forms of addiction. Although the physiological effect of addiction without drugs on the brain and nervous system is not yet sufficiently explored, scientists have found equivalent effects on addicts suffering from one or the other type of addiction. These addicts are almost generally dysfunctional persons who become prisoners of their own passions, and the consequences are numerous technological advantages offered by modern times and in some respects a punishment due to the civilization for forgetting the man himself. Considering that most people, so and many psychiatrist, often accept these addictions as a lifestyle and without any delay and awareness of the potential dangers they may pose, we can with certainty say that the so-called "addictions without drugs" are the scourge of the 21 century. With pathological gambling, which is as old as human civilization, in recent decades we meet the growing problems of internet addiction, gambling games, which are classified for the first time at DSM V in addictive disorder, uncontrolled shopping, food cravings, addiction to sex, weight loss, sports, work and many more, which are mostly true addictions, and not only the way of life. The aim of this paper is to point to the growing problem of addiction without drugs, which is becoming an increasing problem within our community.
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September 2018

Stigmatization of Mentally Ill Patients through Media.

Psychiatr Danub 2017 Dec;29(Suppl 5):885-889

Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Hospital Mostar, Bijeli Brijeg bb, 88000 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

The stigmatization of mentally ill patients has negative labelling, marginalization and exclusion of people simply because they have a mental illness. Stigma has negative consequences for the individual and his family, as well as for psychiatry as a profession and the entire community. Stigma weakens the mentally ill, reinforcing a sense of alienation, which has negative consequences on the course of the illness. The media can inform the public about the treatment of mentally ill patients by conveying correct information, who can then act positively towards improving the quality of treatment. Stigma and self-stigma create a feeling of low self-esteem and fear of rejection, due to which mentally ill people avoid the media and very rarely speak publicly about their illness. The realization of information rights is very delicate and it is reflected through two opposing but substantially equivalent human rights: 1. Right to information, 2. Right to privacy. Which of the two rights will get advantage depends on the circumstances of each case and journalism ethics. The relationship of psychiatry with the media and especially the media with psychiatry must be extremely correct and professional, based on facts, and not on the pursuit of media sensationalism. The media can significantly reduce the current level of stigmatization of the mentally ill by adequate and correct reports, and thereby facilitate their role in family and society. Lack of knowledge and understanding of mental illness contributes to stigmatization. Education of patients, their families and journalists is crucial if we want to better understand people with mental illness and reduce stigma.
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December 2017

Monoamine Oxidase A Gene Methylation and Its Role in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: First Evidence from the South Eastern Europe (SEE)-PTSD Study.

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2018 05;21(5):423-432

Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder is characterized by an overactive noradrenergic system conferring core posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms such as hyperarousal and reexperiencing. Monoamine oxidase A is one of the key enzymes mediating the turnover of noradrenaline. Here, DNA methylation of the monoamine oxidase A gene exonI/intronI region was investigated for the first time regarding its role in posttraumatic stress disorder risk and severity.

Methods: Monoamine oxidase A methylation was analyzed via direct sequencing of sodium bisulfite-treated DNA extracted from blood cells in a total sample of N=652 (441 male) patients with current posttraumatic stress disorder, patients with remitted posttraumatic stress disorder, and healthy probands (comparison group) recruited at 5 centers in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and the Republic of Kosovo. Posttraumatic stress disorder severity was measured by means of the Clinician-Administered Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Scale and its respective subscores representing distinct symptom clusters.

Results: In the male, but not the female sample, patients with current posttraumatic stress disorder displayed hypermethylation of 3 CpGs (CpG3=43656362; CpG12=43656514; CpG13=43656553, GRCh38.p2 Assembly) as compared with remitted Posttraumatic Stress Disorder patients and healthy probands. Symptom severity (Clinician-Administered Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Scale scores) in male patients with current posttraumatic stress disorder significantly correlated with monoamine oxidase A methylation. This applied particularly to symptom clusters related to reexperiencing of trauma (cluster B) and hyperarousal (cluster D).

Conclusions: The present findings suggest monoamine oxidase A gene hypermethylation, potentially resulting in enhanced noradrenergic signalling, as a disease status and severity marker of current posttraumatic stress disorder in males. If replicated, monoamine oxidase A hypermethylation might serve as a surrogate marker of a hyperadrenergic subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder guiding personalized treatment decisions on the use of antiadrenergic agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijnp/pyx111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5932467PMC
May 2018

The Impact of Religiosity on Quality of Life and Psychological Symptoms in Chronic Mental Patients.

Psychiatr Danub 2017 May;29(Suppl 2):118-123

Faculty of Health Studies, University of Mostar, Bijeli brijeg bb, 88000 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Introduction: In recent decades, there is more and more scientific research and evidence that religiosity has a positive impact on quality of life and mental health. The aim this study is to evaluate the impact of religiosity on the quality of life and psychological symptoms of chronic mental patients.

Subjects And Methods: The test group was consisted of 100 chronic mental patients at the Clinic for Psychiatry UCH Mostar, and control group was consisted of 80 somatic patients surveyed from the Infirmary of family medicine of the Health Center Mostar. The survey was conducted by the social and demographic questionnaire, a questionnaire on the quality of life of the World Health Organization WHOQOL-BREF, the questionnaire on religiosity and self-assessment questionnaire for psychological symptoms SCL-90.

Results: For the socio-demographic data we obtained results that chronic mental patients as opposed to chronic somatic patients have significantly higher percent of an average lifestyle habits. There is statistically significant difference in the place of residence, chronic mental patients live in the city as opposed to somatic who live in the countryside. On the question of religiosity we received information that the chronic mental patients in relation to chronic somatic patients significantly more attend public religious gatherings, but however, chronic somatic patients compared to chronic mental significantly more use religiosity for better financial position, social comfort. In self evaluation of psychological symptoms we received information that the chronic mental patients as opposed to chronic somatic patients had significantly more psychotic features. To test the quality of life between the two groups, we received the information that chronic mental patients have significantly better physical and mental health, social relationships and caring for the environment as opposed to chronic somatic patients.

Conclusions: Quality of life was significantly better in the chronic mental patients. Also, chronic mental patients significantly more attend public religious gatherings, while chronic somatic patients significantly more use religiosity for a better financial position, social comfort. Finally, chronic mental patients had a significantly more pronounced psychotic features.
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May 2017

Metabolic Syndrome, Total and Differential White Blood Cell Counts in Patients with Schizophrenia.

Psychiatr Danub 2016 12;28 Suppl 2:216-222

Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Hospital Mostar, Kneza Mihaila Viševića Humskog bb, 88000 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Background: Numerous studies suggest existence of association between total white blood cell (WBC) count and metabolic syndrome (MS) in general population. Aim of this study was to determine the value of total and differential WBC counts and their association with MS in patients suffering from schizophrenia.

Subjects And Methods: This cross-sectional study included 100 subjects in the study group and 100 healthy subjects in control group. MS diagnosis was made according to ATP III criteria, which was the basis for dividing the study and control group into subgroups with regard to MS diagnosis. From blood samples of all subjects total and differential WBC counts were determined.

Results: Schizophrenic subjects with MS had significantly higher total WBC count, as well as neutrophil and monocyte count, when compared with both control subgroups. Total WBC and neutrophil count correlated positively with glucose concentration and MS prevalence and negatively with HDL concentration.

Conclusion: Total WBC and neutrophil count might have an important role in forecasting MS development in patients with schizophrenia.
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December 2016

Religiosty and Mental Health in Nursing Students.

Psychiatr Danub 2016 Jun;28(2):188-92

Faculty of Health Studies, University of Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Background: Young people and nursing students are prone to stress and psychological consequences of it. The aim of the current study was to assess the associations between psychopathology and religiosity in the group of nursing university students.

Subjects And Methods: The study included 100 nursing students of the Faculty of Health Studies in Mostar. The participants were assessed with the SLC-90-R and Dimensions of Religiosity Questionnaire. Sociodemographic data were also collected.

Results: All SCL-90-R subscales negatively correlated with religiosity showing that the strength of religiosity was associated with better mental health of nursing students. Twenty two percent of potential cases of mental disorder were detected based on the GSI cut-off score. Religiosity was a significant predictor of mental disorder in logistic regression based on the GSI. The year of the study and quality of family relations were associated with students' religiosity. Gender, socioeconomic status and parents' education were associated with higher psychopathology scores.

Conclusion: Religiosity showed to be important factor of resilience for nursing students. Further studies are needed.
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June 2016

Molecular Mechanisms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a Basis for Individualized and Personalized Therapy: Rationale, Design and Methods of the South Eastern Europe (SEE)-PTSD study.

Psychiatr Danub 2016 Jun;28(2):154-63

Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Center Sarajevo, Bolnicka 25, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a major health problem in South Eastern Europe (SEE). Available treatment options are not efficient enough and the course is often chronic. Little is known about molecular mediators and moderators of pathogenesis and therapy. Genetic and epigenetic variation may be one central molecular mechanism. We therefore established a consortium combining clinical expertise on PTSD from SEE countries Bosnia-Herzegovina (Sarajevo, Tuzla and Mostar), Kosovo (Prishtina) and Croatia (Zagreb) with genetic and epigenetic competence from Germany (Würzburg) in 2011 within the framework of the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst)-funded Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. After obtaining ethical votes and performing rater trainings as well as training in DNA extraction from EDTA blood between 2011 and 2013, we recruited 747 individuals who had experienced war-related trauma in the SEE conflicts between 1991 and 1999. 236 participants had current PTSD, 161 lifetime PTSD and 350 did not have and never had PTSD. Demographic and clinical data are currently merged together with genetic and epigenetic data in a single database to allow for a comprehensive analysis of the role of genetic and epigenetic variation in the pathogenesis and therapy of PTSD. Analyses will be done to a great degree by PhD students from participating SEE centers who in addition to participation in the project had an opportunity to take part in spring and summer schools of the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) funded Research Training Group (RTG) 1253 and thus meet PhD students from Germany and other countries We are confident that our project will not only contribute to a better understanding of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of PTSD as a basis for future individualized and personalized therapies, but also to the academic development of South Eastern Europe.
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June 2016

The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in patient with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Psychiatr Danub 2013 Jun;25 Suppl 1:45-50

School of Medicine, University of Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Background: Although the connection between body and soul is written in the Bible, research papers haven't given much attention to it until the past few decades. Recently, both here and abroad, there have been more studies that investigate the prevalence of various somatic disorders in psychiatric patients, including metabolic syndrome.

Objective: The objective of this study was to establish the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and it's components in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Subjects And Methods: Metabolic syndrome and its components were investigated in 60 patients with chronic PTSD conditioned by the war and in 60 patients treated for somatic problems by their family physician in Mostar.

Results: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was statistically significantly higher in patients with PTSD (48.3%) than in the control group (25%) (P=0.008) and the number of its individual components (test group 2.38±1.30 compared to control group 1.72±1.24) (P=0.005). PTSD patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome had significantly more frequent hyperglycemia (P=0.010) and abdominal obesity (P=0.044) compared to the control group.

Conclusion: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased in patients with PTSD compared to the control group.
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June 2013

Aggression in war veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder with co-morbid alcoholism.

Coll Antropol 2010 Mar;34 Suppl 1:23-8

Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For thousands of years it has been known that aggression as a symptom appears in numerous psychiatric disorders and diseases. During the last decade the appearance of the aggressive behavior related to the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been frequently investigated, often associated with war trauma. The goal of this study is to analyze the impact of alcoholism on a way war veterans suffering from chronic PTSD express and control aggression. The sample included 240 war veterans with chronic PTSD. The subjects were divided in two groups. PTSD group (n=147) and controlled group composed of those suffering from alcoholism in addition to PTSD (n=93). In this study, the following psychological instruments were used: The Harvard trauma questionnaire for PTSD diagnosis (HTQ); the questionnaire for self-evaluation of aggression (STAXI); The Profile Index Emotion (PIE); questionnaire for auto-diagnosis of alcoholism (CAGE). The obtained results indicate that subjects who have PTSD with co-morbid alcoholism are more deprived, aggressive (p < 0.001) and oppositional (p < 0.05) in comparison to subjects whose PTSD is not combined with alcoholism (PIE). The aggression is statistically more expressed in subjects with PTSD who have also been diagnosed with alcoholism on all subscales in comparison to subjects with PTDS who have not been diagnosed with alcoholism: the current state of aggression, the general state of aggression, aggression towards an unfair treatment, aggression directed inwards and outwards (p < 0.001); aggression towards nonspecific provocation and a general way of expressing aggression (p < 0.05) (STAXI). Subjects that had PTSD combined with alcoholism show a higher degree of aggression in comparison to subjects with PTDS who are not diagnosed with alcoholism.
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March 2010

Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Psychiatr Danub 2009 Sep;21(3):376-81

Department of Psychiatry University Clinical Hospital Mostar, 88000 Mostar, Bosnia&Herzegovina.

During the past century, many scientific discoveries and industrialization greatly contributed to the progress in medicine and significantly improved a quality of life of psychiatric patients. Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder. Due to synthesis of numerous high quality antipsychotic medications, a great progress in the treatment of it has been made during the last 50 years. In five thousand years of the recorded history, it is known that in the early times, people used different methods and procedures in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. In recent decades after great discoveries, medicine based on facts has also faced a number of disappointments. The medicine gradually begins to understand that some of the alternatives used earlier in centuries are complementary methods that were unnecessarily suppressed and excluded from the treatment. On the other hand, a number of countries where this is legally possible is growing and there is also an increasing number of patients seeking alternative and complementary methods in the treatment of schizophrenia. The aim of this paper is to encourage and reflect upon the meaning of alternative and complementary methods in the treatment of schizophrenia as well as to try and prevent forgetting their meaning whenever it is justified and based on facts.
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September 2009
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