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VA study finds EEG can help differentiate between PTSD and mild traumatic brain injury

Tucker Law Group
February 16, 2017

Does a veteran have PTSD or TBI?  In an effort to find a way to distinguish between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs funded a study on the use of EEG, a neurological test, to diagnose the conditions.  The following excerpt comes from the VA press release published on its website.

A recent VA study points to a possible breakthrough in differentiating between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), otherwise known as a concussion.

The two disorders often carry similar symptoms, such as irritability, restlessness, hypersensitivity to stimulation, memory loss, fatigue and dizziness. Scientists have tried to distinguish between mTBI and PTSD in hopes of improving treatment options for Veterans, but many symptom-based studies have been inconclusive because the chronic effects of the two conditions are so similar. If someone is rating high on an mTBI scale, for example, that person may also rate high for PTSD symptoms.

The researchers used electroencephalogram, or EEG, a test that measures electrical activity in the brain. The size and direction of the brain waves can signal abnormalities.

For the rest of the press release story, follow this link:

VA researchers claim that EEG shows different signals in the brain for PTSD compared to TBI.  The VA’s press release summarized the study this way:  it “linked mTBI with increases in low-frequency waves, especially in the prefrontal and right temporal regions of the brain, and PTSD with decreases in low-frequency waves, notably in the right temporoparietal region.”

For more information about VA research on PTSD and TBI, visit Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. Information about the EEG study may be found at the International Journal of Psychophysiology.