Jun. 2, 2011-UTD News Center

The Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas has been awarded a $3 million grant from the Department of Defense to further test a cutting-edge treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Up to 8 percent of the population will have PTSD at some point in life, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Up to 20 percent of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are diagnosed with PTSD.

With the funding, 50 patients will be treated with a combination of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), a behavioral therapy treatment designed to give individuals suffering from PTSD a new way to handle distressing thoughts.

The study being conducted at the Center for BrainHealth will combine rTMS, a magnetic coil that alternates polarity resulting in the right frontal lobe of the brain to temporarily reduce the fear response to a tolerable level, and CPT, a method of psychological training that will teach patients how to lessen the emotional response associated with PTSD. The blinded study will measure subjects’ EEG (brain wave) tests and functional MRIs (fMRI) before and after to determine positive treatment response.

“We are very hopeful that the combination of these two treatments will positively affect one of the most debilitating symptoms of PTSD,” saidDr. John Hart, medical science director at the Center for BrainHealth and lead researcher of the study. “If this clinical trial proves successful, thousands of veterans returning from war will have an even greater chance of transitioning smoothly back into civilian life.”

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