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For years people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were dismissed as complainers and fakers. Their cases were given little to no serious consideration from the medical community and from society at large. Slowly, that has started to change. As our National News Desk at InjuryBoard highlighted, PTSD is now listed in the diagnostic manual used by psychiatrists and psychologists along with the criteria for making the diagnosis.

Up until now, however, PTSD has largely been diagnosed through its symptoms without a significant method of objectively testing just how the mind has been affected by the traumatic events that led to the disorder. That is slowly starting to change. New and powerful imaging tests are being developed to detect just how the brain changes in people with PTSD. The disease that was once "just in your head" is turning out to be the result of damage to the brain’s nerve fibers that handle memory and confusion.

The technique is called Diffusion Tensor Imaging. It is a non-invasive procedure adds just a little time to a standard MRI. It involves tracking how water flows through tiny, celery stalk-like nerve fibers in the brain, measuring the direction and speed of the water molecules to determine if the nerve fibers have suffered any damage.

While this research has been primarily driven by the waves of veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq who has suffered from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries (PDF), the ramifications of this technology can be far reaching. Countless Americans suffer from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, ranging from an auto accident to surviving traumatic events such as a rape or child abuse. Treatment for all these individuals will likely be altered from this research as scientists learn more about how the brain heals itself from traumatic events.


  1. Gravatar for OpPTSD_Jason

    This is the benefit of creating awareness. New technologies being applied to PTSD research. I am hopeful that a breakthrough will be achieved in the near future. With new information we can start looking at PTSD with the intention of healing it and not just learning to deal with it. We are on the right track.

  2. Gravatar for Tom Garvey

    I am a disabled Vietnam Veteran that is 10% service connected for PTSD. I would appreciate receiving any additional articles pertaining to PTSD and Advanced Technologies. Thanks, Tom Garvey

  3. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    These are interesting findings particulalry for a State like Minnesota that ties so many coverages to Physical manifistations for coverage. We see that in no fault and workers compansation cases. thanks for the helpful information.

  4. Gravatar for Victim of System
    Victim of System

    I was injured at work and the work doctor ignored me back injury and only reported my torn rotator cuff, I was pushed through the healing process so quickly and ignored about stress and pain. I developed complex post traumatic stress disorder. One doctor told me to find a new job. The laws and system are designed so that I will loose everything. If I was simply recognized as a hurt person and treated with compassion. I most likely would of healed and not lost everything and hired a lawyer and become disabled. CPTSD is Different from PTSD because many things that dis-empower a person a make them feel a loss of safety cause it. So I gets worse as Insurance companies and doctors and courts and lawyers all fight over it. I would still have my mind and house and the Insurance companies would spend a lot less if people were treated with compassion and injuries were treated readily.

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