Researchers find promising new treatment for PTSD

The following was adapted from a news release from the Providence VA Medical Center.

Brown University scientists have found that theta-burst stimulation may be a promising new treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The study, published on June 24 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, summarizes a controlled study of 50 veterans with PTSD. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has previously shown promise as a treatment for PTSD, and intermittent theta-burst stimulation, or iTBS, is a new, more rapid process that has been shown to be effective in treating depression.

Outcomes measured in the study included comparing changes in PTSD symptoms, depression, and social and occupational function in participants, compared with a control group who only received simulated treatment. The team was also able to identify participants most likely to improve with iTBS using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

"Our results indicate that iTBS appears to be a promising new treatment for PTSD, a condition more common among Veterans than in the general population," said lead researcher Noah S. Philip, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown who is affiliated with the Carney Institute, and director of psychiatric neuromodulation at the Providence VA Medical Center. "Further investigation is needed, to develop the optimal treatment course and duration."

The study was supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Services’ Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology at the Providence VA Medical Center.