Combat veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder needed for clinical study at Tinker AFB

Dr. Stacy Zimmerman, an associate investigator, demonstrates using the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) on Capt. Josh Pearcy, a physician assistant, while Dr. Shane Biedermann and Dr. Harold Ginzburg observe. Biedermann, as the primary investigator, and his team, are looking for combat veteran volunteers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to participate in this noninvasive study using electroencephalography.

Dr. Stacy Zimmerman, an associate investigator, demonstrates using the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) on Capt. Josh Pearcy, a physician assistant, while Dr. Shane Biedermann and Dr. Harold Ginzburg observe. Biedermann, as the primary investigator, and his team, are looking for combat veteran volunteers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to participate in this noninvasive study using electroencephalography. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

The 72nd Medical Group is looking for combat veteran volunteers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who have access to Tinker for a clinical study to discern whether transcranial magnetic stimulation can provide relief for those affected.

Primary Investigator Dr. Shane Biedermann, Flight Medicine Medical director, and associate investigator Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Harold led a study that tested eight combat veterans with PTSD by treating them with electromagnets.

Biedermann said the study includes a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to treat the symptoms of PTSD. Volunteers are monitored using electroencephalography (a monitoring method that records electrical activity in a brain).

“We need combat veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD by their doctor, but that don’t have severe medical conditions, a history of seizure or traumatic brain Injury,” Biedermann said. “We use an electromagnetic wand and apply a slight electromagnetic field while we use an electrophysiological monitoring that provides us with a baseline for brain activity. This is the first time this has been done and the EEGs help guide this type of therapy.

“We need combat veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD by their doctor, but that don’t have severe medical conditions, history of seizure or TBI,” Biedermann said. “We use an electromagnetic wand and apply a slight electromagnetic field while we use an electrophysiological monitoring that provides us with a baseline for brain activity. This is the first time this has been done in a study in combat veterans and the EEGs help guide this type of therapy.

“The trend has shown many positive effects on mood and lessen symptom burden and all seem to be improving and most want to come back for treatment.

“The trend has shown many positive effects on mood and lessen symptom burden and all seem to be improving and most want to come back for treatment.”

Ginzburg said some PTSD symptoms can include intrusive nightmares and thoughts, anxiety, panic attacks, breathing fast until light-headed and headaches.

“The longer PTSD stays untreated, the harder it is to treat,” Ginzburg said.

Biedermann said the study uses the wand near the prefrontal cortex because it is an area in the brain that has hyperactivity in patients with PTSD. With treatment, the hyperactivity begins to decrease and gets closer to normal. MacDill Air Force Base in Florida is doing a similar study using the same protocol as Tinker’s.

“There has been no memory loss,” he said. “We’ve seen improved cognition. I’m hoping there’s an application for pain. We’re not saying it is a cure-all, but it is a tool we can use.”

The study could take four to five weeks and will require participants over the age of 18 who have direct access to Tinker and be willing to come for 45-minute treatments.

To participate in the study or for more information, call the Flight Medicine Clinic at 582-6610 or email: shane.o.biedermann.mil@mail.mil.