20 November 2009

Predict PTSD to Prevent PTSD?

There's a very interesting experiment going out in California that seeks to predict the emergence of PTSD.

Two days before shipping off to war, Marine Pfc. Jesse Sheets sat inside a trailer in the Mojave Desert, his gaze fixed on a computer that flashed a rhythmic pulse of contrasting images.
Smiling kids embracing a soldier. A dog sniffing blood oozing from a corpse. Movie star Cameron Diaz posing sideways in a midriff top. Troops cowering for safety during an ambush.
A doctor tracked his stress levels and counted the number of times he blinked. Electrode wires dangled from his left eye and right pinky finger.
Sheets is part of a military experiment to try to predict who's most at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. Understanding underlying triggers might help reduce the burden of those who return psychologically wounded — if they can get early help.

This is a very interesting article that's worth a bit of a read-through and some reflection. It would be fantastic if we could predict the emergence of PTSD and intervene before the risk factors overwhelm our soldiers.

By: Brant

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