Posted by: dohgonuniversity | October 1, 2009


US veterans groups seek trauma treatment model from Israeli experts


American military veterans’ groups recently traveled to Israel to study different models developed by NATAL, Israel’s Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War, for treating discharged soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
NATAL was established 12 years ago and became the first organization to provide multi-disciplinary counseling and support for discharged soldiers and former prisoners of war. Interest in NATAL’s services dramatically increased during the second intifada, to help treat victims of terror attacks and their families.
According to NATAL CEO Orly Gal, three groups of American veterans recently visited NATAL’s clinics in Israel to examine the different models the organization uses to treat Israelis suffering from trauma.
“The groups came here to learn more about how to treat soldiers who return from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Gal said. Read More…

Also in the news:
Three Strikes & You’re Sidelined
The U.S. Department of Defense wants to limit troops to only three incidents of concussion, from roadside bombs, per combat tour. Troops that reach this limit, are given a non-combat job for the rest of their tour. But the marines have been using a similar policy, for over a year, in Afghanistan, and are satisfied with it. The marine criteria is more complex, taking into account all sources of concussion. However, most of the troops exposed to combat injury are army.
What spurred this idea is the discovery that physical injuries (to the brain) can now be detected (with more precise instruments like MRI), and often treated. In the last few years, it has become clear that there are several sources of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and concussions from explosions is more of a factor than previously thought. Many troops, because of exposure to roadside bombs, and battlefield explosions in general, have developed minor concussions that, like sports injuries, could turn into long term medical problems. Often these concussions were accompanied by some PTSD. Medical experts believe that the proposed policy would have long term benefits, in that it would prevent permanent brain injuries and PTSD, including cases that could require a soldier or marine to be retired early on medical disability.

How the brain reacts to fear: new science makes study possible
It’s common knowledge that the human brain features billions of neurons, all connected with each other via synapses and other channels. These connections are all related to everyday feelings, including one of the most powerful, fear. Studies on neural fear have usually focused on fear-conditioning experiments, but advancements in science have now made it possible to look deeper into the underlying mechanisms that dictate the feeling. For example, a new study focuses on using computational models of the brain to pinpoint how it reacts to fear, experts from the University of Missouri-Columbia report.
Their report implies that the new type of investigation could be of great use for people suffering from the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as other similar conditions. In charge of the UMC team was electrical and computer engineering doctoral student Guoshi Li. Before this approach was taken, the expert argued that computer models were far more effective at studying brain connections than any other method.

Two programs help people cope with trauma
Ready 4 the Return is a program designed to help soldiers returning from the war in the Middle East deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or any trauma they may have experienced in the line of duty. Two healers who are also registered nurses created this program in Lafayette. They are hoping to include and expand the use of body-based approaches, combining energy medicine with allopathic medicine to treat body, mind and spirit and help re-regulate the nervous system.

VA’s Inspector General Finds Major Weaknesses at Two Regional Offices
Although the problems found at these two VAROs were somewhat different, the VAOIG solution is the same:
We recommended that the VARO provide refresher training on claims processing and improve management oversight and controls over operations.
What am I missing here?
This tells us that the VARO managers are putting untrained personnel on the “front lines” and having them process claims when, obviously, they don’t know how.
VAOIG should have recommended some management changes as well.

Military Mental Health a Focus of Mental Illness Awareness Week
In recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 4 – 10, the American Psychiatric Association is holding its annual symposium on Capitol Hill this Wednesday, September 30, with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to raise public awareness of and reduce the stigma of mental illnesses.
This year the symposium will focus on military mental health and is titled “Supporting Our Troops: New Research on Suicide and Substance Use Disorder.”


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