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The AP Is Suddenly Interested In PTSD

From those relentless defenders of the faith at the Associated Press:

Military experiment seeks to predict PTSD

By Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer

November 20, 2009

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Two days before shipping off to war, Marine Pfc. Jesse Sheets sat inside a trailer in the Mojave Desert, his gaze fixed on a computer that flashed a rhythmic pulse of contrasting images.

Smiling kids embracing a soldier. A dog sniffing blood oozing from a corpse. Movie star Cameron Diaz posing sideways in a midriff top. Troops cowering for safety during an ambush.

A doctor tracked his stress levels and counted the number of times he blinked. Electrode wires dangled from his left eye and right pinky finger.

Sheets is part of a military experiment to try to predict who’s most at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. Understanding underlying triggers might help reduce the burden of those who return psychologically wounded — if they can get early help.

PTSD is a crippling condition that can emerge after a terrifying event — car accident, sexual assault, terrorist attack or combat. It’s thought to affect as many as one in five veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Military doctors have been mystified as to why certain warfighters exposed to bombings and bloodshed develop paralyzing stress symptoms while others who witness the same trauma shake it off.

Studies on veterans and civilians point to some clues. Childhood abuse, history of mental illness and severity of trauma seem to raise a person’s risk. Having a social net and a coping strategy appear to offer some protection.

However, none of the factors explored so far are reliable predictors.

"Right now, we can’t determine with certainty who will and who won’t develop PTSD," said Paula Schnurr, deputy executive director of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. "Perhaps with better measures, we can get closer."

Earlier this year, a quarterly publication from the national PTSD center found that studies to date have looked at only "a narrow band of the potential risk and resilience predictors" and that more work beyond surveys was needed.

New PTSD studies are using technology to try to get at the answer. Select Marine and Army units are undergoing a battery of physical and mental tests before deployment including genetic testing, brain imaging and stress exams. They are followed in war zones and upon return.

There’s an urgency to detect early signs. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, more than 1.8 million U.S. troops have fought in Afghanistan or Iraq. The Obama administration is weighing whether to increase forces in Afghanistan where violence has escalated in recent months…

Cmdr. Bryan Schumacher, the 1st Marine Division’s top doctor, said the purpose of studying PTSD triggers is not to bar someone from service. If it turns out that something can be done to prevent it, those vulnerable could get special training to reduce their risk, he said.

Similar research is ongoing 1,300 miles away at the University of Texas at Austin where scientists have collected detailed health data from 178 soldiers from nearby Fort Hood who recently came back from Iraq. The base was the scene of a massacre on Nov. 5 when an Army psychiatrist opened fire, killing 13 people and wounding dozens more.

The shooting has not affected the research, which enrolled first-time deployed soldiers. Unlike the Marines, the soldiers filled out monthly questionnaires online while in combat that tracked their experiences such as whether they saw a roadside bomb go off or knew of a wounded buddy.

Before deployment, soldiers submitted a DNA sample, had an MRI scan of their brain and inhaled carbon dioxide as part of a stress reaction test.

Early results suggest soldiers who reacted more strongly to the CO2 test and who were exposed to more stress in the field showed greater PTSD symptoms, said chief researcher Michael Telch, of UT Austin’s Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders…

Navy corpsman Benjamin Reinhardt was recently trained to look for signs of PTSD in 20 Marines attached to a mortar platoon. He likened his job to a school nurse. Marines confide in him about their innermost struggles. He thinks he can spot when someone is not himself.

"I tend to be reasonably observant with people’s personalities. I can see changes," said the 21-year-old from upstate New York.

He added: "I hope none of us become PTSD casualties." …

Let’s say we question the AP’s sudden interest in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

We suspect that this article is intended to reinforce the media’s preferred explanation for Mr. Hasan’s murder spree.

PTSD is a crippling condition that can emerge after a terrifying event — car accident, sexual assault, terrorist attack or combat.

Since Major Hasan never experienced any of these things first hand, our media must find ways to expand the list of causes.

Never mind that the more we learn about Mr. Hasan, the more it becomes clear it was simply a pre-planned act of Islamic terrorism.

Something that now takes place somewhere just about every day of the year.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, November 20th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “The AP Is Suddenly Interested In PTSD”

  1. proreason says:

    Poor Hasan.

    They keyed his car. They called him a muslim. They gave him a workload 1/10th that of his peers. After 7 1/2 years of two wars, they were sending him to a combat zone. He couldn’t find a girl who enjoys wearing burlap bags. He had to counsel soldiers who were subject at some time in the future to get PTSD, and some of them weren’t properly respectful of his religion. They only paid him a 6-figure salary. They only invested 1/2 millon in his education.

    Who wouldn’t crack.

  2. canary says:

    Hasan didn’t crack. He preferred to do his premeditated [jihad] in the ‘luxury of the U.S.’ where he could do more damage knowing soldiers were unarmed; where he’d [be[ less likely to die in the sand & sludge; where he’d [get] better medical care and a 1st class hearing.

    I wonder if Hasan is asking allah if he’s pleased with him.

  3. wardmama4 says:

    Can’t this drivel be considered as tainting the jury pool?

    I find it disgusting how the msm trivializes anything and everything if they feel it will help advance their agenda even a smidgen.

    Yet in reality – as far as the Troops go – It would be full page front page banner headline if this POTUS (or any POTUS, really) announced a complete dissolution of the US Armed Forces.

    The msm is scum – but the Associated (with Terrorists) Press – most especially.

  4. Chuckk says:

    The military needs to start thinking about how to kill terrorists, and forget PTSD, pc, politics, etc. etc. It is embarrassing itself and the country

  5. MinnesotaRush says:

    Chimes of .. we will create what we subsidize.

    After this weeks court decision & huge monetary award for some Katrina “victims” .. watch for that line to grow.

    After the 61 year olds windfall judgement for smoking in Florida .. watch that line grow.

    Certainly .. God bless and care for our military; but we really don’t need the AP help to “build those lines”.

  6. Liberals Demise says:

    Being a Marine Combat Veteran, I want to know …………”Is second hand PTSD more dangerous than first hand? Will PTSD be banned in public? How about bars and restaurants?”

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