Artwork by Cody Vance, PTSD artwork puzzle

DoD, VA approve $45 million in quest for PTSD cure

Artwork by Cody Vance, PTSD artwork puzzle
Artwork by Cody Vance.

In an unprecedented show of support for our nation’s wounded warriors, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will provide approximately $45 million over five years for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research to advance diagnosis, prevention and treatment for service members and veterans. The UT Health Science Center San Antonio and the VA National Center for PTSD will lead the consortium.

The STRONG STAR Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (STRONG STAR-CAP) will provide an array of cutting-edge clinical treatment trials and biological studies for active military and veterans with PTSD and related conditions, said Consortium Director Alan L. Peterson, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine at the Health Science Center. Initiatives will include efforts to learn more about the biology/physiology of PTSD development and treatment response to inform diagnosis, prediction of disease outcome, and new or improved treatment methods.

“Historically, PTSD has been considered to be a chronic, lifelong disorder that is difficult to treat, particularly in military combat veterans,” Dr. Peterson said. “However, results of studies of PTSD in civilian populations demonstrate that a large percentage of patients have been able to be treated to the point of remission or recovery. Although the term ‘cured’ is rarely used in reference to PTSD, we believe it is possible.”

Clinical trials will be conducted to develop programs to treat the largest percentage of service members possible so that they can remain operationally and functionally fit for military service. The clinical trials will also recruit prior-service veterans.

An estimated 250,000 service members could be diagnosed with PTSD. Additionally, because an estimated 7 percent of the civilian population will develop PTSD at some point, treatment advances could help millions more Americans.

STRONG STAR (South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience) was initially funded in 2008 by the Department of Defense’s Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), part of the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Materiel Command. For STRONG STAR-CAP, the original STRONG STAR consortium has partnered with the seven divisions of the National Center for PTSD and other VA, military and civilian investigators and institutions across the world to form the largest research consortium in history dedicated to the alleviation of combat-related PTSD.

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