Researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs have invented a novel method for diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD is a chronic and disabling anxiety disorder that results from exposure to a traumatic event. Symptoms include marked deficits in behavioral, social, and occupational functioning.
Diagnosis is currently established subjectively on the basis of a patient’s clinical history, mental status examination, duration of symptoms, and clinician-administered symptom checklists, or patient self-reports. However, a recent comprehensive assessment of the current military and veteran PTSD diagnosis and treatment methods by the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Science recommends that objective physiology-based markers of PTSD be used to enhance prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Given the above, VA researchers have developed PTSD neuromarkers based on quantitative electroencephalography (EEG) analysis and other brain activity measurements. The neuromarkers provide the basis for objective methods for determining the severity of PTSD, and are gathered through a process of obtaining a brain wave patterns during sleep.
Measured neuromarkers include excessive stage one sleep, pulse oximetry, respiration, REM abnormalities, and other sleep study parameters gathered from EEG, electro-oculography, and surface electromyography. A computation of coherence function between various EEG sites produces measurements of the strength of coupling and association between EEG pairs (coherence), as well as their phase relationship (time leads or lags). These computed figures serve as baseline or thresholds for the determination of PTSD.
- Precise and objective diagnosis of PTSD and its severity level for tracking recovery during and following PTSD therapy, and as a means for predicting response to therapy and the potential for relapse
- Allows for rapid adjustment of treatment to improve efficacy, or adjustment of dosage selection based on initial response
- Additional diagnostic criteria including clinical history, mental status examination, duration of symptoms, clinician-administered symptom checklist, and patient self-report can be combined with this method
- Businesses can develop the technology into a medical product by licensing international patent application WO2018107181 from the VA
- Businesses that license the technology may further collaborate with the VA's inventors
- License fees paid to the VA are negotiable
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