Hundreds of veterans say their PTSD symptoms faded after an experimental new therapy that zaps the brain for 20 minutes at a time.
In fact, five Navy SEALS told Defense One that the technique, currently being used in a clinical trial, was the only thing that banished their blind rage, tormented nightmares, flashbacks and memory loss.
Patients wear a cap fitted with electrodes, that is normally used to measure brain activity.
Then, over the course of 20 minutes, an external device is placed at various points around their head, pumping waves energy to ‘reset’ the frequency that their brain works on.
The creators at Newport Brain Research Laboratory in California say this one technique has been effective at reducing a wide variety of symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD – potentially offering relief for patients who tend to suffer from various mental illnesses but have to use different medications for each condition.
By grading and resetting the patient’s overall brain frequency, experts hope they can help people to feel more grounded, calm, in control, and sleep better
Prior to 2008, the staggering number of veterans with PTSD had little to ease their agony.
Then, the FDA approved transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for depression, and it swiftly put to use.
As of last year, the VA had spent more than $3.4 million acquiring dozens of the machines and related supplies.
However, it has since emerged that the FDA’s own advisory panel warned that TMS didn’t seem to do anything, saying the effects were ‘marginal,’ ‘borderline’ and ‘questionable.’
And that was echoed last summer in a paper published by the VA itself, which found TMS made barely any difference in patients’ depression.
The authors said it could be down to the fact that veterans tend to suffer from multiple psychiatric problems, making it harder to target the specific problem at hand.
That’s where the new MeRT technique (Magnetic EEG/ECG-guided Resonant Therapy) seems to be offering something new.
Dr Erik Won, the creator of MeRT who founded the Brain Treatment Center after serving as a surgeon in the Navy, believes that all of these related conditions boil down to a person’s brain rhythm being off-kilter.
By grading and recalibrating the patient’s overall brain frequency, he says, clinicians can help people to feel more grounded, calm, in control, and sleep better.
Dr Won told Defense One, 650 veterans have been treated with MeRT thus far, with some calling it ‘transformative’.
It is now being tested in a double-blind clinical trial with 150 patients (and 250 controls) which could pave the way to FDA approval.
They have also conducted their own clinical trial of 86 people, 60 percent of whom ‘saw changes’ within a month.
The technique is by no means a cure, but Dr Won believes it could replace many treatments, possibly even sleeping pills and anti-depressants.
Speaking to Defense One, a Navy SEAL called Tony, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and was ‘blown up a lot’, says he felt completely different after getting MeRT for five times a week.
The next step will be to see the results of the clinical trial, expected in November 2019.