Research Triangle Park’s RTI International is leading a new study on a medical procedure that it says will better treat post-traumatic stress disorder among U.S. service members.
The medical procedure, which involves injecting an anesthetic into nerve tissues at the base of the neck, is called Stellate Ganglion Block and it may provide fast-acting relief to those suffering from PTSD.
“Stellate Ganglion Block is a procedure whereby a local anesthetic is injected into the Stellate Ganglion, which is a nerve center … in the neck,” explained Kristine Rae Olmsted, a behavioral epidemiologist at RTI International.
Rae Olmsted said the treatment has been used in recent years, including at Fort Bragg. The results, she said, have been anecdotal.
“It has the potential to be used in the civilian population, with veterans of older wars and so on,” Rae Olmsted said.
RTI’s study will be the first randomized control trial scientifically looking at the effectiveness of the procedure. It will be conducted over three years at three large military facilities where it is already being used occasionally to treat PTSD.
“There is a critical need to address PTSD among service members and provide evidence-based effective treatments,” said Dr. Bradford Walters, chief medical officer at RTI and principal investigator of the project. “Stellate Ganglion Block has shown great promise in effectively treating PTSD in a few case reports and series, but to date, no rigorous, randomized, controlled trials have been reported in the literature.”
A $2 million grant from the Department of Defense is paying for the study, and 249 troops at the three military hospitals will begin enrolling in the study in about eight months.
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