NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodMcLennan CountyWaco


'Cutting edge' research by VA in Waco wins award

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 19:25:23-05

WACO, Texas — The work never stops at the Waco VA’s Center of Excellence for Research.

”We were created by a Bill of Congress that was really designed to address ant issues that befall service members that are coming back from recent wars,” said Dr. Richard Seim, Director of VSIN 17 Center Of Excellence for Research.

Their research regarding many forms of PTSD is cutting edge.

Even winning an award for their article, “Between Moral Injury and Moral Agency - Exploring Treatment for Men with Histories of Military Sexual Trauma.”

”This study found that men benefited from a treatment that was specifically tailored form me who had Military Sexual Trauma, to talk to one another directly about these experiences,” said Dr. Sheila Frankfurt, Researcher at VSIN 17 Center Of Excellence for Research.

Talking in a group setting helped with moral injuries caused by pervasive shame and isolation from their experience.

It's not just asking them how they for feel that shows it it’s working.

Like with other types of PTSD, a moral injury over-activates the “fight or flight” part of your brain and that can show up on an MRI.

”It can also do a functional image and actually see how the brain is utilizing oxygen, what parts of the brain are lighting up, how the thinking patterns are actually impacting the brain," Dr. Seim said.

This is further proof that PTSD isn’t just a feeling, it’s an injury.

Moral injury can be caused be trauma that was not life threatening, and that is why this award-winning study is so important.

”What we found is that for military veterans, sometimes it’s not only the impact of life threatening events but also a sense that there was something wrong, that’s so disturbing,” said Dr. Frankfurt.

“We’re developing treatments to target that sense of wrongness.”

For male veterans suffering from Military Sexually Trauma, it’s that sense of wrongness a group therapy setting is making inroads on.

This award winning research is just one step into better therapy for PTSD.

The folks at the VSIN 17 Center Of Excellence for Research lab says they have some exciting new studies about to begin.