November 2017

27th November – 3rd December

The HVRT Presented a Poster at a Prestigious Academic Conference

The HVRT presented an academic poster, titled ‘Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Military Personnel; Key Issues and Considerations’ at the Annual Networking and Research Update event held at the Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College, London on Tuesday 21st November.

The day conference was attended by many influential researchers and leading clinicians in the field of blast injury. Topics discussed ranged across three broad areas along the care continuum including injury prevention, acute care and rehabilitation. We heard from a broad range of speakers who discussed various topics such as the development of innovative sensors used to monitor physiology and a new clinical trial testing a drug that could help up regulate cell survival following traumatic injury. We were introduced to current projects at the forefront of research that included experiments such as designing gloves to protect hand joints, optimal posture and vehicle seat design in explosions, neuroprotective mechanisms for TBI, hearing loss and strategies to improve amputation outcomes, to name a few. A common theme that prevailed throughout the day was the importance of collaborative work and early treatment interventions that are well within the ‘golden hour’ in a bid to help reduce the likelihood for mortality.

The day’s agenda also included a poster presentation session where the attendees could view an extensive display of around 60 research posters. One of these posters belonged to Dr Silviya Doneva, Lead Researcher at the HVRT, which provided an overview of her review article on mTBI. The poster attracted considerable attention and was very well received by the audience.

You can download a pdf of the poster here.

It was an intriguing and thought-provoking day with a top class collection of speakers. We hope the event will help generate further exciting research and innovation in the field of blast injury.

Silviya poster

Dr Doneva presenting a poster on mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) in military personnel.

13th – 19th November

Invictus Games’ Research Results

In response to hosting the Invictus Games, a study was conducted in Toronto, Canada to assess the general publics’ views on military veterans and whether hosting the Games would alter these views in any way.

Data was taken from 1000 Canadian civilians at three different time points (April 2016, July 2017 and after the games in October 2017). Overall it was found that, following the hosting of the Invictus Games, Canadians had gained a greater understanding of the challenges veterans face. In comparison to the data collection from before the Games, there was a significant increase in the association of service members with vocabulary such as ‘empowerment, optimism and drive’ following the Games. These are welcome changes since the transition of veterans back into civilian life can be better managed with greater awareness from the general public. Results showed that awareness of the Games reached 97% in Toronto, while nationally awareness shifted from 5% to 84%. The overall findings are very positive with regards to how an event, such as the Invictus Games can prove hugely beneficial in creating greater awareness towards service personnel and military veterans.

Further statistics from this research can be found at the Invictus Games’ website.

What Not to Say to Someone with PTSD

Dr Sonya Norman, Director of the PTSD Consultant Program, helped write an article around advice on what not to say to someone with PTSD. It is important to increase knowledge of this topic, and ensure that people are aware that words can trigger symptoms in someone with PTSD. The article explains that it may not be obvious who has PTSD, and that there is not a specific way to speak to someone with the disorder; however, being empathetic and understanding is a good place to start. The article also outlines some phrases that could be harmful for someone with PTSD.

The article can be found here.

6th – 12th November

The below articles, along with others, were published in the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs Clinical Trauma Update, released October 2017.

The Warrior Care Network

A no-cost treatment network in the US for post 9/11 servicemen, servicewomen and veterans provides PTSD treatment at 4 different major sites (Massachusetts General Hospital, Emory University, Rush Medical Centre and University of California-Los Angeles). Since June 2015, 328 members have enrolled and received 2-3 weeks of trauma-focused psychotherapy for their PTSD. Recently it was reported that 95% completed the program with 96% reporting satisfaction. There is now a need to assess the clinical outcomes for the intensive PTSD programs in order to determine whether they provide effective PTSD treatment.

The report can be downloaded here.

Another Medication for PTSD Failed to Meet Standards

Medication to treat PTSD is urgently required; however, clinical trials have continued to be unsuccessful. Recently this pattern has not changed with vilazodone, an antidepressant that has previously shown to help sleep and nightmares, adding to the growing list of medications that are failing to meet the recommended effectiveness in clinical trials. In this particular trial, 59 participants were randomised to either receive vilazodone or a placebo.  No significant differences were found between the two groups, leading to the conclusion that more research into PTSD is necessary if effective medications are to be designed.

A summary of the article can be found here.

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