It was recently discovered in a new trial that a treatment called eTNS (external trigeminal nerve stimulation) used for epilepsy and depression could potentially help to reduce the severity of chronic PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). eTNS is a wearable electrical brain stimulator—basically a patch that is worn on the forehead powered by a 9-volt battery.
The way the eTNS works is that it sends a weak electrical current through the patch while the patient is sleeping. The current helps to stimulate the cranial nerves running through the forehead. This, in turn, results in signals being sent to the parts of the brain that control thinking, behavior and mood. These parts of the brain also include the amygdala, the autonomic nervous system and the medial prefrontal cortex, all of which display abnormal activity in patients suffering from PTSD.
Promising Trial Results
The trial consisted of 12 patients with the average age of 53 suffering from PTSD. These patients were survivors of domestic abuse, car accidents, rape and other traumatic events. They underwent eight weeks of eTNS outpatient treatment by wearing the patch for eight hours every night as they slept. These patients continued previous treatments of their PTSD as they underwent the trial—treatments that included medication, psychotherapy or both. The patients completed a questionnaire before and after the trial that the researchers could use in order to assess how severe their symptoms were prior to the eTNS treatment and compare them to their symptoms following the treatment. They found that, on average, their symptoms were reduced by more than 30 percent, and the severity of their depression was reduced by more than 50 percent.
Following the success of the first trial, researchers are planning to collaborate with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to conduct a trial consisting of 74 veterans.
Results of the trial to treat patients suffering from PTSD using eTNS proved successful and could provide a new way to help PTSD patients. Be sure to visit us at the Benefits Store today to keep yourself informed about new medical news and healthcare information.