Project title: epiREVAMP study “Epigenetic analysis on whole blood samples of patients who have suffered trauma as a screening tool for the identification of PTSD causative factors: a perspective study”.
Duration of the project: From 2015 – ongoing
Description of the project
Violence against women is a priority and a major public health problem. The consequences of violence on women’s health are physical, psychological and economic and could influence the structure of DNA, compromising the victim state of health (WHO, 2002). These consequences remain on the woman’s psyche and can manifest themselves as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is classified as a particular form of mental illness that includes depression, substance abuse, self-injurious or suicidal behavior, eating and sexual disorders (Shin et al., 2014).
To counter this chronic emergency we are developing a research line, epiREVAMP (epi REpellere Vulnera Ad Mulierem et Puerum), which aims to study and identify the epigenetic modifications eventually associated with violence. To this end, we are setting up the first bio-bank in synergy with the hospital emergency departments of the CCM REVAMP 2015-2017 surveillance network. Studying the epigenetic profile of a person means identifying the signs of violence at the molecular level and, since these are modifications that do not change the DNA sequence, even the possibility of correcting them.
The present study aims to identify molecular markers associated with violence and responsible for long-term effects, such as the onset and progression of diseases such as PTSD. The establishment of the blood sample bio-bank of women who have suffered violence represents the first step in the analysis and identification of molecular markers associated to PTSD.
Type of study
epiREVAMP is a prospective study with follow-up at 6, 12 and 18 months, the total number of women to be enrolled is 200 cases and 400 controls. The study is multidisciplinary and requires a close collaboration between emergency physicians, forensic doctors and gynecologists, nurses, geneticists and molecular biologists, psychologists and social workers. The emergency departments of Genoa, Turin, Milan, Civitavecchia, Bracciano and Naples provided blood samples for the epiREVAMP study.
The information that can be obtained from this study will allow us to open new avenues for the treatment and application of innovative therapeutic protocols in order to improve the health of women who have suffered violence.
Principal Investigator of the project: Simona Gaudi, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Department/Center: Department of Environment and Health; Ecosystems and Health Unit.