Researchers at the University of Iowa have pinpointed the part of the brain that causes people to experience fear -- a discovery that could improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety conditions. Hear more in this Discovery Files podcast.
Credit: NSF/Karson Productions
In the military, soldiers gain vast experience using sophisticated and cutting-edge technological innovations that require skills in the science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) fields. However, the transition to post-military education and employment presents challenges. And when a veteran, a Wounded Warrior, has a disability related to military experiences, the challenges are even greater. In order to develop solutions, NSF sponsored "Transition STEM: A Wounded Warriors Think Tank." Read more in this discovery.
Credit: Alexis Petri, Institute for Human Development, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Four principal investigators from four U.S. universities have embarked on a four-year program to design prosthetic limbs that amputees may directly control with their brains and that will allow them to feel what they touch. With support from NSF, the team is building upon their prior work to design and validate non-invasive neural decoders that generate agile control in upper limb prosthetics. Read more in this discovery.
Credit: J. Contreras-Vidal/University of Maryland
The Industrial Innovation and Partnerships Division of the Directorate for Engineering serves the entire foundation by fostering partnerships to advance technological innovation and plays an important role in the public-private innovation partnership enterprise. IIP seeks to successfully invest in science and engineering research across all disciplines that have the potential for high impact in meeting national and societal needs.
Kerry Ressler's research on the molecular biology of fear could lead to better methods for treating individuals suffering from anxiety disorders.
September 16, 2013
VetsPrevail™ helps veterans transition from war
Web-based software helps returning military veterans with PTSD, depression and other issues
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), former Navy pilot Rich Gengler, former Army sergeant Justin Savage and the team at Prevail Health Solutions have built and tested an online screening and counseling program called VetsPrevail™. Optimized through careful research, the program helps service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan make a more successful transition.
A Pentagon study concluded that returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are currently suffering from "daunting and growing mental health problems," with nearly one third of these military personnel reporting symptoms of mental illness upon their return from combat. A lack of adequate available resources, combined with a fear of stigmatization inherent in seeking face-to-face treatment, prevent as many as 77 percent of these military personnel from ever getting the treatment they need.
VetsPrevail™ will enable the military's mental health professionals to offer an effective, evidence-based and drug-free intervention for depression or for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which will effectively mitigate stigma concerns faced by military personnel and will provide treatment at a fraction of the cost of the typical interventions available today.
With an estimated 5 million veterans and 20 million civilians in the United States suffering from depression alone, cost-effective and innovative methods to help address this burgeoning health care problem are critical. Through further research, this web-based framework has the potential to extend to many behavioral health disorders that plague the U.S., including drug abuse, anxiety and alcoholism.
The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #0956637, SBIR Phase II: Internet-based Software for the Treatment of Depression among Veterans.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.