Department of Veterans Affairs Launches Veteran Brain Bank

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed a new consortium led by its National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The project revolves around the creation of the first brain tissue biorepository (or “brain bank”) which researchers can utilize to study the cause and progression of, and potential treatments for, PTSD.

Researchers will follow the health of any veteran who enrolls in the program over the course of their lifetime. At the time of their death, veterans who participate will donate their brain and spinal cord for further research. The combination of tissue samples and long-term health records will help researchers better understand how PTSD develops and progresses, hopefully opening pathways to new treatments.

The research will focus on identifying how stress, trauma, and PTSD affect the brain tissue over time. Researchers are specifically looking for PTSD biomarkers which may help identify people who are more susceptible to developing PTSD, provide a measurable testing method for diagnosing PTSD, and assess progression and treatment potential.

Veterans who wish to participate in the brain bank need to have a PTSD diagnosis, live in the United States, and apply online. The screening process involves obtaining participant and next-of-kin consent and obtaining basic demographic information. Once enrolled in the study, researchers will assess participants’ physical and mental health via telephone survey once a year. The researchers will also review VA medical records to add additional data to the PTSD Brain Bank. Participants can withdraw consent at any time during the process.

Learning about how PTSD develops and how some servicemembers are more prone to posttraumatic stress than others will be vital to protecting future servicemembers from developing this condition. Studies such as these are also how researchers pioneer new innovations in PTSD treatment, and may help doctors provide more concrete diagnoses, which might ultimately help vets get the treatment they need and qualify for VA disability benefits.

For now, PTSD diagnosis relies heavily on clinical assessments and the opinion of VA reviews. If you applied for veterans’ disability benefits and were denied due to a lack of medical evidence or proof of disabling condition, Veterans Help Group® can help. Contact our office today for assistance and support for your claim. Call today – 1-855-855-8992.