Research shows brain scans can identify PTSD

Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos
University of Minnesota neuroscience professor Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos.
Courtesy University of Minnesota

A new high-powered scan can, for the first time, reveal post traumatic stress disorder in the brain.

University of Minnesota neuroscience professor Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos, the study's leader, said the technique accurately identified more than 90 percent of PTSD cases in a recent study.

"To my big surprise it just came out to be the best result ever," he said. "Somehow the sensitivity and accuracy of this test was phenomenal."

Researchers at the university and the Minneapolis VA Medical Center said the device measures differences in the brain's magnetic fields.

Georgopoulos said that detection rate is better than he has seen for many other diseases.

"It's really a fantastic signal. The most accurate you can get. The highest precision and the most faithful of neural activity," he said.

The measurements showed distinct differences between patients with diagnosed cases of PTSD and people with no history of the disorder.

Georgopoulos said the information can be used to help patients prove their PTSD cases. He says it can also help doctors judge the severity of a case.

The findings are published in the latest edition of the Journal of Neural Engineering. The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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