Promoted by Steven D
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder): An anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal. They may experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or be easily startled.
TBI (traumatic brain injury): Also called a concussion.
ASR (acute stress reaction): The immediate aftermath of a traumatic incident in a combat zone. The military describes it as normal reactions among troops confronted by abnormal situations.
CID (critical incident debrief): The Army’s term for a mandatory session that takes place 24 to 72 hours after an event that may be sapping a soldier’s will to fight.
At a recent conference for some of the area’s leading neurologists, San Francisco physicist Norbert Schuff captured his colleagues’ attention when he presented colorful brain images of U.S. soldiers who had returned from Iraq and Afghanistan and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
That conference is covered in this article PTSD leaves physical footprints on the brain in the San Francisco Gate.
The yellow areas, Schuff explained during his presentation at the city’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center, showed where the hippocampus, which plays major roles in short-term memory and emotions, had atrophied. The red swatches marked hyperfusion – increased blood flow – in the prefrontal cortex, the region responsible for conflict resolution and decision-making. Compared with a soldier without the affliction, the PTSD brain had lost 5 to 10 percent of its gray matter volume, indicating yet more neuron damage.
The hippocampus is located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain. (In this illustration of the inferior surface (underside) of the brain, the frontal lobe of the brain is at the top, while the occipital lobe is at the bottom.)
Norbert Schuff, PhD, is Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, University of California San Francisco. Who gives this observation and asks these questions.
“But we’re still in the infancy of neuroimaging,” Schuff cautioned later in his office. “Do you get PTSD because you have a small hippocampus? Or does a small hippocampus mean you’ll develop PTSD? That, we still don’t know.”
Many seem to be joining into the research and care, know of some youngsters in or entering college with a focus on psychiatry and particularly interested in PTSD, combat and in the civilian population, for it’s finally being understood many suffer from PTSD from traumatic experiences in their lives, one is a niece of mine who is closing out her college years.
Schuff’s research is at the forefront of a bold push by the Department of Defense to address PTSD, the psychological disorder that will haunt an estimated 30 percent of the veterans returning from the current two wars, according to the Pentagon. Forty thousand veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon officials say, have already been diagnosed with PTSD, which is defined as an anxiety disorder triggered by exposure to traumatic events; symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks.
Left untreated, clinicians say, patients with PTSD are more likely to engage in anti-social behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse. The disorder, neurologists are now learning, can also lead to long-term maladies, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Better late than never but this country should have started the research, not just the few who had and the veterans who understood, extensively after it was finally recognized. For combat PTSD has always been there, not only in military troops but civilians in the countries and area’s of the many conflicts man wages on man.
They break the article up into a few subtitles, such as this,
Manhattan Project urgency
The quest is to understand how the disorder begins inside the brain. The Defense Department has invested $78 million in San Francisco’s Northern California Institute for Research and Education at the VA center in the past four years, making it the largest VA research institute in the country and the only one that specializes in neuroscience. With 200 researchers on staff, and an estimated 40 ongoing studies that rely on 60 to 80 veterans as research participants, the center has the urgency of a Manhattan Project site, this time searching for a way to end a mental health crisis.
The Department of Defense “has such a compelling need for these answers,” said Dr. Thomas Neylan, an associate professor of psychiatry at UCSF and director of the post-traumatic stress disorder program at the VA center. “They want to know these answers now, which is the right approach. We want the answers now; people are still going off to the war, coming back, and a lot of them are suffering for a long time.”
There’s more under this heading but they close it out with this:
“We’re using this opportunity to also see why some people are able to walk away from these situations and live healthy lives,” he said, “and why others are not.”
They go into:
The effects of IEDs
The link between mild brain trauma and PTSD is being studied at the VA center in San Francisco by Dr. Gary Abrams, whose preliminary studies show that the overlap between PTSD patients and sufferers of mild brain trauma injury “is tremendous.” Abrams has yet to release definitive numbers.
And you will find a paragraph under this next subtitle that one might find interesting and can be viewed at the title link.
Recent attempts to estimate frequency
Under this next one they give a brief description of four experiments now being taken in attempts to ease the burden some have from the stress and trauma of Conflicts and Occupations
Experiments probe further into post-traumatic stress disorder
Nasal spray: Scott Panter is developing a battlefield-ready nasal spray for troops who suffer brain trauma. After the trauma occurs, the brain swells, causing tissue damage. Panter’s nasal spray, applied within 20 minutes of a trauma, would aim to stop the swelling process. Troops could carry the spray in their packs and self-apply or administer to others.
D-cycloserine: Dr. Charles Marmar is conducting trials on PTSD patients using D-cycloserine. The drug, which was originally used as an antibiotic for tuberculosis, has also proved to help lab animals “unlearn fear responses.” Given in small doses 30 minutes before a therapy session, D-cyclo is meant to help PTSD patients open up about their traumatic experiences and become more willing to engage in therapy. The hypothesis is that the group taking D-cyclo will make more and faster progress in therapy.
Blood/gene test: Dr. Lynn Pulliam is trying to establish a blood profile to diagnose PTSD. Using gene array technology, researchers will be able to take an RNA test, much like a DNA test, to determine whether a patient “tests positive” for PTSD.
Sleep experiment: Dr. Thomas Neylan is conducting a study on improving veterans’ sleep habits without drugs. Neylan said PTSD patients often feel anxious about sleeping, in part because they anticipate insomnia but also because they worry about nightmares. Subjects are coached to avoid substances that interfere with their sleep. “If we get them to sleep better at night,” Neylan said, “they’ll have fewer nightmares and feel better during the day.”
There is another recent report out hitting on what the military is doing for those who may be coming under the stress and trauma of the conflicts In – Theater.
Sgt. Seth “Doc” Musikant could be a recruiting poster for the Army’s new approach to PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.
In April, Musikant and his team were driving around a traffic circle in the city of Tuz. It was their second time through the roundabout that day, and between trips somebody had planted a homemade bomb. It blew up their Humvee.
Sgt. Musikant had this to say firther down:
“It’s like there’s an invisible wall,” Musikant said about the anxiety that temporarily troubled him.
For one thing, it’s cheaper to treat PTSD than it is to train a new recruit. For another, Bourque said, “the healthier their personnel, the better off the Army is.”
Now the Army identifies a condition called acute stress reaction, or ASR — the immediate aftermath of a traumatic incident in a combat zone. Since PTSD takes months, sometimes years, to manifest itself, military doctors and counselors prefer the new term to describe what they regard as normal reactions among troops confronted by abnormal situations.
You can read the whole report here, it isn’t that long.
I’m been an advocate of PTSD, among other causes, since returning from Vietnam and knowing many who suffered from as well as the many of my brother Vets who took it on as a profession to help their brothers and others. It’s once again one of the many extremely important causes that the society shuns, they don’t want to spend the needed funds to research and help, yet it costs them more as time passes. They don’t want to hear about those suffering who finally just break and cause problems, some extreme, within the communities, because they weren’t receiving the help they were asking for, nor are there enough who understand to give the help needed.
For me, PTSD should be right up there along side ‘War as a Last Resort’ before this country sends it’s Military into another’s to invade, destroy than occupy. For the aftereffects of War on many as to PTSD are like the unexploded ordinance found throughout the many lands man wages conflicts, it keeps the continuation of War long after they supposedly end for the greater majority!
And in todays World the enemies we the so called powerful make leads to the less powerful to continue and intensify the Criminal Terror that has been occurring with rapid growth for a number of years!