Karestan C Koenen's research while affiliated with Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and other places

Publications (726)

Article
Study objective To derive and initially validate a brief bedside clinical decision support tool that identifies emergency department patients at high risk of substantial, persistent posttraumatic stress symptoms after a motor vehicle collision. Methods Derivation (n=1,282, 19 ED sites) and validation (n=282, 11 separate ED sites) data were obtaine...
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Importance: Prevalence of childhood parental death varies by race and ethnicity and socioeconomic status, yet whether similar variation persists in the association with lifetime psychiatric disorder is unknown. Objective: To assess whether race and ethnicity and parental educational attainment are associated with the risk of death of a parent; t...
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Purpose The stress-sensitization hypothesis posits that individuals with prior trauma are at elevated risk for poor mental health when faced with subsequent stressors. Little work has examined whether those who have demonstrated psychological resilience to prior trauma would show either increased resilience or vulnerability to subsequent stressors....
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Objective Whether short-term, low-potency opioid prescriptions for acute pain lead to future at-risk opioid use remains controversial and inadequately characterized. Our objective was to measure the association between emergency department (ED) opioid analgesic exposure after a physical, trauma-related event and subsequent opioid use. We hypothesiz...
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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a heritable (h² = 24–71%) psychiatric illness. Copy number variation (CNV) is a form of rare genetic variation that has been implicated in the etiology of psychiatric disorders, but no large-scale investigation of CNV in PTSD has been performed. We present an association study of CNV burden and PTSD symptoms...
Article
Importance: Few risk factors for long-lasting (≥4 weeks) COVID-19 symptoms have been identified. Objective: To determine whether high levels of psychological distress before SARS-CoV-2 infection, characterized by depression, anxiety, worry, perceived stress, and loneliness, are prospectively associated with increased risk of developing post-COVI...
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African populations are the most diverse in the world yet are sorely underrepresented in medical genetics research. Here, we examine the structure of African populations using genetic and comprehensive multi-generational ethnolinguistic data from the Neuropsychiatric Genetics of African Populations-Psychosis study (NeuroGAP-Psychosis) consisting of...
Article
Anxiety sensitivity, or fear of anxious arousal, is cross-sectionally associated with a wide array of adverse posttraumatic neuropsychiatric sequelae, including symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, pain, and somatization. The current study utilizes a large-scale, multi-site, prospective study of trauma...
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Background Prior evidence links posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, separately, with chronic inflammation. However, whether effects are similar across each independently or potentiated when both are present is understudied. We evaluated combined measures of PTSD and depression in relation to inflammatory biomarker concentrations....
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Genetic influence shapes who develops posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after traumatic events. However, the genetic variants identified for PTSD may in fact be associated with traumatic exposures (e.g., interpersonal violence), which appear heritable as well. Childhood cancer survivors (CCS) are at risk for PTSD, but genetic influences affectin...
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Racial/ethnic minorities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The effects of COVID-19 on the long-term mental health of minorities remains unclear. To evaluate differences in odds of screening positive for depression and anxiety among various racial and ethnic groups during the latter phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we performed a cro...
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Visual components of trauma memories are often vividly re-experienced by survivors with deleterious consequences for normal function. Neuroimaging research on trauma has primarily focused on threat-processing circuitry as core to trauma-related dysfunction. Conversely, limited attention has been given to visual circuitry which may be particularly r...
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Background The presentation, etiology, and relative risk of psychiatric disorders are strongly influenced by biological sex. Neuroticism is a transdiagnostic feature of psychiatric disorders displaying prominent sex differences. We performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of neuroticism separately in males and females to identify sex-specif...
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Background Traumatic events. e.g., road traffic accidents, violent conflicts, natural and human-made disasters, are common in sub-Saharan Africa. However, validated trauma screening tools to assess trauma at the individual level are lacking in many sub-Saharan African countries, such as Ethiopia, which limits accurate diagnosis and effective care p...
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Hippocampal impairments are reliably associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, little research has characterized how increased threat-sensitivity may interact with arousal responses to alter hippocampal reactivity, and further how these interactions relate to the sequelae of trauma-related symptoms. In a sample of individuals...
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Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several risk loci for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, how they confer PTSD risk remains unclear. We aimed to identify genes that confer PTSD risk through their effects on brain protein abundance to provide new insights into PTSD pathogenesis. To that end, we integrated human bra...
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Importance: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been hypothesized to lead to impaired cognitive function. However, no large-scale studies have assessed whether PTSD is prospectively associated with cognitive decline in middle-aged adults. Objective: To assess the association between PTSD and decline in cognitive function over time. Design,...
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Objective: Dissociation, a disruption or discontinuity in psychological functioning, is often linked with worse psychiatric symptoms; however, the prognostic value of dissociation after trauma is inconsistent. Determining whether trauma-related dissociation is uniquely predictive of later outcomes would enable early identification of at-risk traum...
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DNA methylation (DNAm) has been suggested to play a critical role in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), through mediating the relationship between trauma and PTSD. However, this underlying mechanism of PTSD for African Americans still remains unknown. To fill this gap, in this article, we investigate how DNAm mediates the effects of traumatic e...
Chapter
Potentially traumatic events (PTEs), such as natural disasters, sexual assault, and child abuse, are frequent occurrences throughout the world and take a tremendous psychological toll on individuals and communities. In this chapter, we present the global public health burden posed by PTE exposure. To accomplish this goal, we review the global preva...
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Background Exposure to trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression, have been independently associated with leukocyte telomere length (LTL), a cellular marker of aging associated with mortality and age-related diseases. However, the joint contributions of trauma and its psychological sequelae on LTL have not been examined. Method...
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Calls for diversity in genomics have motivated new global research collaborations across institutions with highly imbalanced resources. We describe practical lessons we have learned so far from designing multidisciplinary international research and capacity-building programs that prioritize equity in two intertwined programs — the NeuroGAP-Psychosi...
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Background Pre-pandemic psychological distress is associated with increased susceptibility to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, but associations with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) severity are not established. The authors examined the associations between distress prior to SARS-CoV-2 infection and sub...
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Background Earlier menopause, either natural or through gynecologic surgeries, has been associated with various negative health sequelae. While posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked to dysregulated biological processes, including reproductive system changes that could alter menopausal timing, little work has examined whether trauma a...
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Introduction Numerous studies have examined the consequences of childhood adversity (CA) and socioeconomic status (SES) for health over the life course. However, few studies have examined the relation between childhood SES and CA as well as the influence of CA on adult SES. The objective of this study was to examine direct and indirect associations...
Article
Objective: Metabolomic profiling may provide insights into biological mechanisms underlying the strong epidemiologic links observed between early abuse and cardiometabolic disorders in later life. Methods: We examined the associations between early abuse and midlife plasma metabolites in two non-overlapping sub-samples from the Nurses' Health St...
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Traumatic experiences have been linked to poor mental and physical health. However, there has been little examination of their relationship to neuroimaging markers of cerebrovascular risk. White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) are markers of brain small vessel disease. WMHs can be detected decades before the onset of dementia and other disorders and...
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Despite experiencing a significant trauma, only a subset of World Trade Center (WTC) rescue and recovery workers developed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Identification of biomarkers is critical to the development of targeted interventions for treating disaster responders and potentially preventing the development of PTSD in this population....
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UK Biobank (UKB) is a key contributor in mental health genome-wide association studies (GWAS) but only ~31% of participants completed the Mental Health Questionnaire (“MHQ responders”). We predicted generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and major depression symptoms using elastic net regression in the ~69% of UKB...
Article
Background Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is heritable and a potential consequence of exposure to traumatic stress. Evidence suggests that a quantitative approach to PTSD phenotype measurement and incorporation of lifetime trauma exposure (LTE) information could enhance the discovery power of PTSD genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Meth...
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Objectives: Past suicide attempt (SA) is one of the most important risk factors for suicide death. An ideation-to-action framework posits that impulsivity, potentially traumatic events, and mental disorders also play a role in increasing suicide risk. This study aimed to assess the association between trait impulsivity, lifetime exposure to trauma...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The presentation, etiology, and relative risk of psychiatric disorders are strongly influenced by biological sex. Neuroticism is a transdiagnostic feature of psychiatric disorders displaying prominent sex differences. We performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of neuroticism separately in males and females to identify sex-specif...
Article
Full-text available
Background Despite evidence linking posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and head injury, separately, with worse cognitive performance, investigations of their combined effects on cognition are limited in civilian women. Methods The Cogstate Brief Battery assessment was administered in 10,681 women from the Nurses' Health Study II coh...
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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may arise in response to severe traumatic event and is diagnosed based on three main symptom clusters (reexperiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal) per the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (version DSM-IV-TR). In this study, we characterized the biological heterogeneity of PTS...
Article
Background Adversity exposure and the negative psychological responses that often result have been linked with poor physical health outcomes and deteriorative physiological processes, like dysregulated circulating cortisol. Individuals exposed to early adversity who also demonstrate positive psychological functioning may be characterized as psychol...
Article
The mechanisms through which exposure to differing trauma types become biologically embedded to shape the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is unclear. DNA methylation (5-mC), particularly in stress-relevant genes, may play a role in this relationship. Here, we conducted path analysis using generalized structural equation modeling to i...
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Background Hypertension is a prevalent condition in women and an important modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Despite women’s experiences of sexual violence being common, no prospective studies have examined lifetime sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment in relationship to hypertension in large civilian samples with extende...
Article
Background: Studies from armed conflict settings, including South Sudan, have revealed the deleterious mental health impact of exposure to war atrocities. However, there is little consensus on what is meant by war trauma, how it should be measured, and how levels of trauma vary across biological sex. Methods: We used psychometric analyses to mea...
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Background: Life Events Checklist (LEC-5) has been widely used to assess for exposure to potentially traumatic life events (PTEs), but its psychometric properties have not been evaluated in Kenya. The objectives of this study were to determine the frequency and types of PTEs within this setting and to examine the construct validity of LEC-5 in Keny...
Article
Background : Self-reporting of psychotic symptoms varies significantly between cultures and ethnic groups. Yet, limited validated screening instruments are available to capture such differences in the African continent. Methodology : Among 9,059 individuals participating as controls in a multi-country case–control study of the genetic causes of ps...
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Background Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is triggered by environmental stressors. Empathy may predispose an individual to respond to life events differently if high empathizers are emotionally more sensitive to trauma. For the first time, we test this hypothesis using genetic information. Methods We applied polygenic scoring (PGS) to invest...
Article
Background Racial and ethnic groups in the USA differ in the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recent research however has not observed consistent racial/ethnic differences in posttraumatic stress in the early aftermath of trauma, suggesting that such differences in chronic PTSD rates may be related to differences in recovery over...
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Background A better understanding of the extent to which prior occurrences of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive episode (MDE) predict psychopathological reactions to subsequent traumas might be useful in targeting posttraumatic preventive interventions. Methods Data come from 1306 patients presenting to 29 U.S. emergency de...
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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is twice as prevalent in women as in men, and is an established risk factor for chronic disease, but few studies have comprehensively assessed lifetime PTSD in middle-aged and older civilian women. We surveyed 33,328 women aged 54-74 from the Nurses’ Health Study II from August 2018 to January 2020 to understand...
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Background Women experience major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) approximately twice as often as men. Estrogen is thought to contribute to sex differences in these disorders, and reduced estrogen is also known to be a key driver of menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Moreover, estrogen is used to treat menopause symptoms....
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Background Poor family emotional health (FEH) during childhood is prevalent and impactful, and likely confers similar neurodevelopmental risks as other adverse social environments. Pointed FEH study efforts are underdeveloped, and the mechanisms by which poor FEH are biologically embedded are unclear. The current exploratory study examined whether...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The mechanisms through which exposure to differing trauma types become biologically embedded to shape the risk for subsequent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is unclear. DNA methylation (5-mC), particularly in stress-relevant genes, may play a role in this relationship. Methods We conducted path analysis using generalized structur...
Article
Full-text available
Background Pregnant and postpartum women face unique challenges and concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far, no studies have explored the factors associated with increased levels of worry in this population globally. The current study sought to assess the frequency and sources of worry during the COVID-19 pandemic in an international sample...
Article
Objectives Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common among women and associated with negative health outcomes across the life course. Relatively few studies, however, have examined the epidemiology of trauma, PTSD, and treatment among middle-aged and older civilian women, who are at elevated risk for adverse health outcomes. We aim...
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Background Cross-sectional studies have found that individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) exhibit deficits in autonomic functioning. While PTSD rates are twice as high in women compared to men, sex differences in autonomic functioning are relatively unknown among trauma-exposed populations. The current study used a prospective design...
Article
Social epidemiology aims to identify social structural risk factors thus informing targets and timing of interventions. Ascertaining which interventions will be most effective and when they should be implemented is challenging because social conditions vary across the life-course and are subject to time-varying confounding. Marginal Structural Mode...
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Objectives: It is important to understand determinants of prevention behaviours during the emergence of an infectious disease and pandemic. We aimed to investigate the association between information-seeking and prevention behaviours, and the mediating effects of psychiatric factors during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: A...
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Objective: Major negative life events, such as trauma exposure, can play a key role in igniting or exacerbating psychopathology. However, few disorders are diagnosed with respect to precipitating events, and the role of these events in the unfolding of new psychopathology is not well understood. The authors conducted a multisite transdiagnostic lo...
Article
Individuals with PTSD have an increased risk of drug use disorders. Conversely, we aim to evaluate how early onset of alcohol, tobacco and psychoactive drugs use are associated with PTSD later in life. 2,193 brazilian young adults completed modularized assessments: The Trauma History Questionnaire, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian...