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Harvard doctors have coined the term “hood disease” to describe a complex form of post-traumatic stress syndrome threatening the well-being of inner-city youth, reports The Root.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 30 percent of U.S. inner-city youths are affected by the disorder, which makes it difficult for them to learn. Those who exhibit the disorder often live in virtual war zones, the CDC report says.

Doctors at Harvard recently coined the name “hood disease,” a term for a more complex form of PTSD, the news site reports. And since the youths rarely escape their communities—unlike soldiers who eventually leave a war zone—they are repeatedly exposed to trauma.

Pointing to the lack of food security, rampant violence and a culture of fear that permeates inner-cities across the country, San Francisco State University associate professor Jeff Duncan-Andrade told KPIX 5 that education is secondary to survival for these children.

“You could take anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of PTSD, and the things that we are currently emphasizing in school will fall off their radar,” said Duncan-Andrade. “Because, frankly, [schoolwork] does not matter in our biology if we don’t survive the walk home.”

Read more at The Root.

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