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Brain Imaging Study Identifies Biological Differences Between PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 19 May 2015
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The results of a study intended to help identify the biological differences, and treatment options for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) have been published in the April 2015 special US Veterans Issue of the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior.

The research team which included brain-imaging scientists from Amen Clinics (USA), the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA; Los Angeles, CA, USA), the Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, PA, USA) and the University of British Columbia (UBC; Vancouver, BC, Canada), found that they could correctly differentiate 94% of PTSD and TBI cases from each other.

Improved diagnosis could lead to improved treatment for more than 400,000 US military personnel and veterans been diagnosed with PTSD or TBI since 2001. Treatments for PTSD differs from those for TBI, and for this reason it is important to be able distinguish between the two conditions.

Theodore Henderson, MD, PhD, member of the research team, said, "The need for a diagnostic tool to reliably distinguish PTSD from TBI in Veteran populations is urgent. Prior attempts to use imaging studies such as CT scans, MRIs, and conventional X-rays have been unsuccessful. This study uses Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) that looks directly at cerebral blood flow and indirectly at brain activity. SPECT brain imaging, a nuclear medicine technique, can show areas of over-activity and under-activity in the brain and can illustrate changes in brain function with treatment."

Related Links:

Amen Clinics 
UCLA
Thomas Jefferson University


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