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August 25, 2013

VETERANS’ CORNER: Cause, treatment of PTSD research begins

By JIM VINES

The Department of Defense and Veterans Administration initiated its five-year plan this month by establishing part one of President Obama’s 2012 executive order to research the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

This Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, a collaborative effort between the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Boston VA Medical Center and San Antonio Military Medical Center, will attempt to develop the most effective diagnostic, prognostic, novel treatment and rehabilitate strategies to treat acute PTSD and prevent chronic PTSD.

The Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium, a collaborative effort between Virginia Commonwealth University, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Richmond Virginia Medical Center, will examine the factors which influence the chronic effects of TBI in order to improve diagnostic and treatment options. A key point will be to further the understanding of the relationship between TBI and neurodegenerative disease.

The action plan, starting with the establishment of the two consortiums, will follow within the next six months with a continued collaboration with academia while getting public and private sectors to join forces. Within the next 12 months the plan will build a framework, continue to standardize, integrate, share data as appropriate, build new tools and technologies, maximize impact of existing research and focus on outcomes and prevention.

Finally, the next two-to-four years will be dedicated to exploring genetic markers, identify changes in brain circuitry, confirm potential biomarkers, and establish data sharing agreements.

The Department of Veterans Affairs continues to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions affecting veterans, service members and military families. For a fact sheet or additional information go to www.va.gov.

Speak to you again next week.

Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133.

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