Neuroscientists think they may have found a scientific method to identify post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using a brain imaging method called magnetoencephalography (MEG). In the test study, the scientists studied 74 vets with PTSD and 250 civilians without and were able to spot the PTSD sufferers with 90% accuracy. "MEG machines are a fast, sensitive and accurate way to measure electric activity in the brain. Whereas CT scans and MRIs record brain signals every few seconds, MEGs can do it by the millisecond, catching biomarkers and brain activity that the other tests inevitably miss. The study could be a breakthrough for the military, who've been scrambling to address a surge in post-traumatic symptoms among newly returning vets. Right now, troops are evaluated by mental health experts, but diagnosis is a crap-shoot: symptoms can take years to show up, and vary from person to person, even among those exposed to the same traumas. The Pentagon's already been pushing for more objective, systematized diagnosis tools, like portable at-home sleep monitors and genetic testing to detect PTSD vulnerability. They've even launched a program to create stress-mitigating pharmaceuticals."
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