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News SGB PTSD Treatment Article

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Taken from an article called 'Obama loves this freaky PTSD treatment; the Pentagon, not so much' by Katie Drummond written for wired.com on 19th July 2010:

Military-backed efforts to find an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress are making sluggish progress. The Pentagon is funding all kinds of ideas — from yoga to telepsychology. Each has its limitations. But one doctor is convinced he’s found a viable way to treat the estimated 20 percent of troops now coming home with PTSD — if only the Pentagon would give it a shot.

Dr. Eugene Lipov, a Chicago-based anesthesiologist, pioneered the modern-day use of stellate-ganglion block, or SGB, in 2004 to eliminate hot flashes among post-menopausal women. SGB, which has been used to relieve migraines and chronic pain since the 1920s, involves a single injection into the sympathetic nerve tissue on the right side of a cervical vertebra.

After finding a Finnish paper on the use of SGB to treat anxiety, Lipov started trying it out on patients with post-traumatic stress.
“My first patient had been robbed at gunpoint,” Lipov tells Danger Room. “He walked into my office with extreme anxiety, and walked out changed. That was three years ago, and he’s still doing fine.”

Lipov went on to try SGB in eight civilians and four veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. His first patient, a vet who awoke to find himself strangling his wife, said the procedure’s impact was “immediate.” The effects took only seven minutes to kick in, but subsided nearly instantly after a fireworks display retriggered the condition. A second shot, in 2008, alleviated the PTSD again. “Since then, it’s so far, so good,” Lipov says.


Illustration: Eugene Lipov

It sounded promising, except Lipov and other SGB advocates didn’t know precisely how the method actually worked — only that it did. That may have changed last February, when Lipov published a paper in Medical Hypothesis, describing what he thinks is the mechanism by which SGB targets PTSD. The injection appears to turn off nerve growth factor (NGF), which can surge during stressful experiences and promote the sprouting of nerves in the stellate ganglion. That triggers chronic stress, or what’s known as the “fight or flight” response.
Lipov already has FDA clearance for use of SGB in post-traumatic-stress victims. And doctors at Walter Reed took note of the progress, and tried SGB on two veterans last year. “Although an admittedly small series of patients, our report points to a potentially effective and readily accessible approach for PTSD treatments,” the study published in Pain Practice reads.

So does that mean Pentagon funding for Lipov’s method? Not quite. He’s applied twice for federal funds to sponsor further study ($4 million in 2007 and $1 million in 2009) but been denied both times.

Denied, despite one rather high-profile backer. In 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama wrote a letter to the Army as part of Lipov’s funding application. “There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that PTSD is afflicting a growing number of our heroic service members,” the letter reads. It “is important to consider any new approaches that may hold potential for helping our service members get the care they need.”

Concerns over risks, especially that the injection can trigger seizures, hit a key artery or puncture the lung, are valid, Lipov admits. Still, they’re rare: A 1992 study evaluating 45,000 SGB cases found adverse effects in 20 patients. And Lipov has come up with a distinct method, which he calls the “Chicago Block,” that targets the C6 vertebra rather than the traditional C7. Because C6 is farther from important arteries and the lungs, it’s less likely to be implicated in problems during an SGB procedure.

“Realistically, 1 in 100,000 people might have serious complications,” he admits. “Say we treat 300,000 veterans — that’s three people. Compare that to the military’s suicide rate.”

So far, the Pentagon isn’t listening. Which makes sense: Yes, the military’s been open-minded about investigating all kinds of alternative PTSD remedies. But there’s a big difference between an hour of downward-facing-dogs and an injected chemical intervention that tries to 180 a patient’s fragile hormonal stress responses.

But a dearth of Pentagon funds also means that an interesting idea goes under-researched. For now, Lipov is self-funding a limited clinical trial: a single-blind test of SGB injections on war veterans. So far, three patients have received the injection, and Lipov is looking to recruit 19 to 22 more. “Look, of course everyone would rather wait until 10,000 people have tried it,” he says. “I’m trying to get there.”
A single procedure costs around $800. Most PTSD patients have shown solid results with only one injection, but Lipov’s first patient proved that there’s a possibility of relapse. Questions also persist over how long the effects can endure, and what percentage of PTSD sufferers will respond to the method. And, of course, there’s the undeniable fact that SGB injections are a Band-Aid treatment, rather than prevention or all-out cure. But according to Lipov, they’re the best we can do.

“This has been around, it’s been done, it is not going to grow you a new tail,” he says. “It’s out-of-the-box, I understand that. But, really, with the number of guys we’re going to have coming home sick, I’m hard-pressed to see where there’s a better option.”

Source: [DLMURL]http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/obama-loves-this-freaky-ptsd-treatment-the-pentagon-not-so-much/[/DLMURL]
I fixed without warning emmat as I read you had tried to remove link. Please do not copy and paste from a web-page, that is issue one. If you read in the rules, there are examples on how to correctly copy and paste into the forum so you don't have formatting issues, along with copying images from third party sites vs. save and upload them yourself, and also examples on how to remove a hyper-link correctly if you accidentally post one.

Use the test section to post links and then remove them, to post them from start without them going live, so you don't have further issues.
Hi fellow PTSD sufferers...

I'm not sure whether this has been posted to the forum or not, but about a month ago I read about a Dr. Eugene Lipov who has been using a long time pain treatment, stellate ganglion block, to treat sufferers of PTSD. The results to date have been encouraging, as this has only been done in the past few years specifically aimed at PTSD victims, however the fact remains that patients who have received the treatment consider it a "cure" for PTSD. I'm adding some links in this post so you can read/see for yourself.

In all honesty, I am really considering trying to apply for the procedure. After trying all these drugs that do so little and cost (emotionally/physically) so much, a leap of faith or a shot in the dark seems to me a worthwhile gamble.


What do you think? Anyone here had it done? Read/seen anything about it that is a pro or con? Please let me know your thoughts/opinions!
Has Anyone Tried This??

The wife and I have been talking about this article and have done more research on the Doctor. Everything looks good and she is thinking about giving it a shot. We live about an hour from his practice and I think she is calling them next week to get some more info. We are looking at it as a risk vs reward. Even if it only helps for a few months it would be worth every penny. I guess we would like to know what others think about it. This procedure has been used for a long time but the application to using it to help with the symptoms of PTSD is still very new. So what do you all think about this?
226 views and no input? That's a big disappointment.

In all honesty, I'd rather have a needle shoved in my neck and hope for a cure than continue like this. The drugs don't work, they just make me worse (with the side effects). I was just hoping someone who suffers might have some kind of input before I go full steam on this.
That is our plan. I just was looking to see if anyone here has looked into it. The procedure is not experimental just the new application using it to help with PTSD. We will let everyone know if we do try it and if it works.
Hi Mrbarthel,

I did some research on both the procedure and the various applications and it is very interesting. Have you contacted his office? I may give it a shot, because I don't have anything to lose, except my hot flashes!

My wife called them today and left a message for the office manager. I am guessing she will get a call tomorrow and she will set somthing up. I will post the final plan and any results if she trys this.

Sent from my Droid
I'm looking forward to hearing about this too. I posted something on this a little while ago and personally I'm more than interested. Assuming other patients concur that the results relieve the PTSD symptoms without added side effects, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
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