Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, are using new tools to determine gender differences in people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Thomas Neylan, the director of the PTSD Research Program at the San Francisco VA hospital, used gene microarray technology to examine the genes of PTSD patients.
Neylan: This methodology, this microarray technology, is a way of looking at different families of genes or patterns of gene activation and it's a very good method for looking at inflammation in particular.
Narrator: Neylan found that women with PTSD tended to have more inflammation than men who have the disorder. Caused by an over-activated immune response system, inflammation dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and dementia.
Neylan: Women are more likely to show an inflammatory picture, a turned on immune system, if they have PTSD, which we didn't find in men. And that's interesting too because women have a higher rate of a variety of autoimmune disorders.
Narrator: For Science today, I'm Larissa Branin.