Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a debilitating condition, but at this time no biomarker currently exists. A biomarker is a distinctive biological or biologically derived indicator, such as a biochemical metabolite in the body, an indicator that would confirm a diagnosis of PTSD. Having such a biomarker that could be found in a diagnostic test would certainly speed the diagnosis, thus helping sufferers of PTSD get treatment sooner.
Scientists in Minnesota think they have found a PTSD "fingerprint" that will confirm the diagnosis of PTSD by measuring electromagnetic fields in the brain.
Previous attempts to use imaging studies such as CT scans, MRI, and conventional x-rays have been unsuccessful because their images of the brain are too slow. Georgopoulos and his team of researches used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to monitor the flow of electrical signals along the brain's neural pathways. They used a helmet with 248 noninvasive sensors around the head to map patterns of electrical activity in the brain.
"This shows that PTSD is a brain disease... There have been questions that this is a made-up disorder and isn't a true brain disease, but it is... It (the magnetic-imaging biomarker) will be a tremendous tool in monitoring treatment because these abnormal communication patterns will be normalized as the treatment works." ~ Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos, Lead Researcher
You can find more information about this in my article, Scan May Be New Diagnostic Tool for PTSD.
Published On: January 28, 2010