Jan 27, 2010

Science Scene - PTSD Diagnosis Methodology at Hand?

With so many troops rotating into and out of two different war zones, mental health experts in the U.S. are urgently trying to understand the causes – and a means to assuage or prevent – post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now, a group of researchers at the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis VA Medical Center may have unlocked the secret to objective PTSD diagnosis: a biomarker in the brain that diagnoses the condition with more than 90 percent accuracy.

The Minnesota research group used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure the magnetic fields in the brains of a group of a few hundred people, about a third of which were U.S. veterans. MEG employs 248 sensors that record neural activity on a millisecond-to-millisecond basis, far faster than other brain scanning methods like functional magnetic resonance imaging or CT scans, which can only capture activity every few seconds.

Using that millisecond-to-millisecond data, researchers were able to identify biological trends in the brain that accurately identified those suffering from PTSD more than 90 percent of the time. A larger study is needed before researchers can call the results airtight, but better-than-90-percent efficacy offers a lot of promise. By helping doctors identify PTSD cases early on, steps can be taken to minimize the effects of the disorder on troops returning from combat theaters, greatly enhancing quality of life for tens of thousands of servicemen and servicewomen.

Details originally posted at Popular Science.


  1. this discovery could help so many people!

    this could also help people traumatized by childhood abuse/ domestic violence or sexual assault.


  2. ... and it could also identify those who are likely to less prone to PTSD. Which means they will be more prone to be used for highly stressed environments.

  3. How encouraging! If ever cerebral science needed to direct its attention anywhere, it's at PTSD and about time. Looking to chemical cures might be the answer, still how does one erase images burned into the brain? These men and women deserve our best and brightest to find the answers, if we're set on continuing our warring ways. Neurephinephrin, dopamine, serotonin, all our endorphins can be manipulated to readjust a person's world-view hence their mental state, and maybe start living fully again after seeing the horrors of hell. Very encouraging news Buck.


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