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Successful New Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at Hadassah

HMO Update - Wednesday, 08/17/2011
By Ron Krumer
Hadassah Medical Organization

Results of a unique clinical trial conducted at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem indicate that Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy in conjunction with brief exposure to trauma cues is safe and effective for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.

“The study was the first of its kind designed to test the effectiveness of TMS on people with severe or resistant PTSD,” says Principal Investigator Dr. Moshe Isserles of Hadassah’s Dept. of Psychiatry. “Only a few studies have been conducted using magnetic stimulation and none using the combination of magnetic stimulation and exposure to the trauma memory.”

TMS has been used to treat patients who suffer from depression for the past decade. This trial, however, involved the use of an innovative device that can stimulate extensive areas deeper in the cortex. The device was developed by the Israeli company Brainsway Ltd.

The 26 patients in the clinical trial were divided into three groups: one was treated using the Deep TMS device together with a brief exposure to trauma cues; the second group only received Deep TMS treatment, with no trauma cues; and the third group received sham stimulation with exposure to trauma cues. All the patients in the study participated in at least eight sessions, the minimum required for treatment.

The primary measure of treatment efficacy was the change in patients’ Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale score, an accepted measure of symptom severity in PTSD patients. Only the group that received active Deep TMS treatment with exposure to cues showed a statistically significant improvement. Measured two months after the treatment concluded, their improvement remained constant.

“There was a marked decrease in nightmares and flashbacks, avoidance and hyper arousal, improvement in sleeping, mood and functioning,” Dr. Isserles said. Similar results were obtained in follow-up questionnaires that measured the intensity of symptoms of PTSD and depression.

A significant portion of Israeli population is exposed to traumatic events, some of them life-threatening. According to surveys, seven percent of the population suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, with the figure even higher in disaster areas.

Date: 8/18/2011 12:00:00 AM

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