Veterans Needed to Help Complete PTSD Study

Draper Laboratories has a branch at USF's Tampa Campus.
TAMPA (2012-1-5) -

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have increased the need to better understand Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Researchers are trying to find a more reliable way to diagnose PTSD, but they need some help.

Draper Laboratory researchers in Cambridge and at Tampa’s University of South Florida are nearing completion of a study that exams if physiological responses like heart rate, perspiration and respiration can be linked to a diagnose PTSD.

David O’Dowd, a program manager with Draper, said preliminary findings show that people with PTSD react differently to stimuli than those without the anxiety disorder.

“One of things I felt was interesting is the sound of helicopters,” O’Dowd said. “The control group was much more responsive to that than either of the combat trauma - with or without the PTSD. They were like ‘oh, yeah, yeah, yeah,’ and other people were like ‘Oh! What’s that?’”

But more participants are needed to complete the study. O’Dowd said the criteria has limited the pool combat veterans who qualify to participate.

“The group we’re looking for that has PTSD, they can’t be on medications and that’s been the real Bah-Boom,” O’Dowd said. “That’s kind of hard. So, we’re trying to start with people who are younger and more newly diagnosed.”

Draper is trying to reach out to new veteran college students among others. Researchers also are looking for people to be part of the control group which is former military who have not been exposed to combat or traumatic experiences.

To learn more on whether you qualify and how to participate in the research study, you can contact Draper Laboratories at USF at 813/465-5482. Leave a message and some will contact you said Ashley Vincent, a Draper researcher at USF.

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