PTSD Symptoms May Be Eased by Non-Invasive Neurotechnology

HealthDay News — Technology using a patient’s own brainwaves might offer hope against tough-to-treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study published in BMC Psychiatry.

The new study was led by researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It involved 18 patients who completed an average of 16 successive, daily sessions of noninvasive closed-loop acoustic stimulation brainwave technology. During the sessions, the patients’ brain activity was monitored and certain brain frequencies were translated into acoustic tones that were then relayed back to the patients via earbuds.

“It’s as if the brain can look at itself in an acoustic mirror, recalibrate its patterns towards improved balance and reduced hyperarousal, and can relax,” lead author Charles Tegeler, MD, professor of neurology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, said in a school news release.

The researchers found that after the sessions, 89 percent of the patients reported clinically meaningful decreases in PTSD symptoms. There were no adverse events reported.

Two authors are employees and shareholders at Brain State Technologies, developers of the allostatic neurotechnology evaluated in the study.

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Tegeler CH, Cook JF, Tegeler CL, et al. Clinical, hemispheric, and autonomic changes associated with use of closed-loop, allostatic neurotechnology by a case series of individuals with self-reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress. BMC Psychiatry. 2017; doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1299-x.