4.30.2010

Fix PTSD with "A Jab to the Neck"

With the incidence of PTSD expected to rise with increased combat and military deployment during the past ten years, research into alternative ways to treat this disease are likely to keep appearing in the literature.

As reported in the current issue of Pain Practice, researchers at  Walter Reed Army Medical Center have tried a Stellate Ganglion nerve block instead of anti-anxiety drugs to treat the disorder. As far as I can tell the sample size was all of two, but the research was based on prior reports of success by a Chicago based anesthesiologist, Dr. Eugene Lipov. The authors of the study concluded:
 Selective blockade of the right stellate ganglion at C6 level is a safe and minimally invasive procedure that may provide durable relief from PTSD symptoms, allowing the safe discontinuation of psychiatric medications.
Traditional treatment with therapy and antidepressants can take months to relieve PTSD symptoms, and can cause side effects such as impotence, weight gain, and sedation, Lipov told ABCnews.com. But the block offers another way -- it works within 30 minutes and does not have those side effects. 

While these local nerve blocks have been around for almost a century, they are not without risk. 

Why would a local nerve block work in treating an mental health problem rooted in a traumatic experience? Lipov speculates that traumatic events cause a spike in nerve growth factors.

Other experts cautioned that more research is needed - with a sample size of two, I'd hope so.  Although the ABCnews.com report states the study was placebo controlled, the abstract of the journal article says both subjects got SGB and reported relief. (maybe there's a different study ABC news if referring to, but I'm not seeing it.)

For his part, Lipov is hoping the neve blocks prove a cheap, quick and easy way to address PTSD.

With so many veterans returning from combat plagued by psychological disorders like PTSD, Lipov told ABCnews.com  "I think it's going to be huge in addressing the 'reverse surge' -- all these vets coming back to the country with these psychological problems."

Abstract of the article HERE

No comments: