Brain scans accurately ID PTSD

After measuring the magnetic fields in the brain, a research team at the University of Minnesota Medical School and a local VA hospital say they have found a biomarker that can be routinely used to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder.

Using magnetoencephalography (MEG) technology, the researchers were able to determine that increased activity on the right side of the mind was linked to the flashbacks, nightmares and anger associated with PTSD. And by measuring the activity, they thought they were able to determine signposts for the severity of the case.

Practice makes perfect, in this biomarker case. The researchers improved their accuracy on a healthy diagnosis from 88 percent to 95 percent over the course of the year. And they earned a 96 percent accuracy rate for spotting PTSD. Now they want to see more of the MEG devices in use in other VA hospitals around the country as physicians struggle to correctly diagnose the illness and move toward early treatment.

"Having a diagnostic exam capable of confirming post-traumatic stress disorder is critical in treating these patients properly," Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos, the study leader, says in a statement.

- here's the story from the Minnesota Daily