To discuss the development of a shot that can conquer PTSD — an innovation of great interest to the military — Buck invited research epidemiologist Kristine Olmsted, who was quoted in a Wall Street Journal piece about the potential discovery, to the Freedom Hut on Thursday.
“How can a single shot help us conquer PTSD,” asked Buck.
“The correct answer is, we don’t know,” said Olmsted. “There’s very strong evidence that shows that it does, so we’re hopeful.”
Buck asked about the science behind the shot.
“It’s an injection of a short-acting local anesthetic — think something like novocaine. It’s injected in the right side of the neck, into the stellate ganglion. Sort of a switching center for the fight or flight portion of the nervous system. The current thinking is that somehow, the anesthetic briefly resets that portion of the nervous system, even long after the 6-8 hours after the injection has worn off.”
Buck mentioned that the practice has been somewhat common in the military for some time.
“There’s been some clinical experience with this,” said Buck. “What have been the early results?”
“We haven’t analyzed our data yet, but I can tell you from the anecdotal evidence, there is strong evidence to suggest that the treatment is effective. What that means is there haven’t been any control groups yet, and placebo effect is tremendous issue with stuff like this.”
“What are the number of veterans suffering from PTSD?”
“It’s pretty significant, Buck,” Olmsted admitted. “An estimated 20% of active-duty service members have PTSD. In the general population, the estimate is that 9% of people will experience PTSD before age 75. It’s a significant problem that people are concerned about, and rightfully so.”
“Is Congress paying enough attention to this as an issue as far as research and funding?” Buck asked.
“I’m a researcher, so I’ll always ask for more funding,” Olmsted joked.
Click above to hear the interview in full.