A Chicago doctor has made advances in a revolutionary treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but the Army has told him he has to do more thorough research before the U.S. government will help fund the treatment’s clinical trial.
Dr. Eugene Lipov believes PTSD can be treated by injecting an anesthetic into a grouping of neck nerves called the stellate ganglion. This procedure has been used for years to treat pain, but Lipov, an anesthesiologist, has had early success treating the stress, anxiety and “fight-or-flight” response that often accompanies PTSD, according to Stars and Stripes Magazine online.
PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that often strikes members of the military who have been exposed to traumatic and horrific events. The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes PTSD as a serious challenge facing many of the soldiers coming home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as veterans of 20th century wars who have been suffering from the PTSD silently for years.
Lipov believes that the shot to the back of the neck can effectively reset the nervous system that may have been set off kilter by traumatic events experienced at war.
Now that Lipov has FDA approval, a clinical trial is the next step but the doctor is struggling to get government funding for the trial.
In September, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command turned down Lipov’s proposed $1.6 million clinical trial saying it was too ambitious and expensive for an untested concept and they were not convinced of the neurobiological explanations Lipov gave for why it works, according to Stars and Stripes.
The proposal’s review team acknowledged the treatment “…could lead to important innovations in the medical treatment of PTSD,” if a trial was successful, but has serious concerns about Lipov’s work.
Lipov has shown success in treating more than a dozen patients but the review team wanted a study with control groups.
The Army would like to explore Lipov’s treatment, according to Fort Detrick’s director of operational medicine research program Col. Carl Castro. The military spends more than $30 million a year researching PTSD. “[He] needs to do a scientifically rigorous study, and that way if he gets promising results, we can be confident in doing a much larger clinical trial,” Castro said.
Lipov told Stars and Stripes he is giving up on the Pentagon helping fund his research. He recently got a $100,000 grant to do a small study with a control group from the state of Illinois. About 20 veterans near Chicago signed up for the study last summer.
James G. Fausone is a Veterans disability lawyer and Veterans attorney with Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC. Learn more at http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com.