Naval Medical Center San Diego is studying whether an anesthetic used during childbirth could help relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
"If we don't get PTSD under control, our crime rate and social disability are going to be out of control," said Lipov, founder of Chicago's Advanced Pain Centers.
The treatment aims to affect the body's sympathetic nervous system through the nerves in the neck. The bundle of nerves that control the "fight or flight" syndrome in the brain are known as the stellate ganglion.
The injection, Lipov said, "resets" the nerve bundle to calm down the agitation and "hypervigilance" that are common to PTSD sufferers. Although denied federal funding, Lipov has received $81,000 from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and has 10 veterans enrolled in his own study.
On one point all the researchers agree: PTSD will remain a medical challenge long after the end of the wars. McLay said PTSD, by different names, can be traced to the days of Achilles and the Spartans.
"I see Marines, SEALs, Green Berets — the toughest men on earth — and they still have PTSD," McLay said.
Best of luck to researchers and Veterans with this. Whatever works, although it may be a little hilarious to hear a tough old Vet holler "I WANT MY EPIDURAL!". Heh.