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  • Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: Promising Treatments for PTSD

    Service member in Army shirt doing yoga
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin

    Dr. James Bender is a former Army psychologist who deployed to Iraq as the brigade psychologist for the 1st Cavalry Division 4th Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Hood, Texas. During his deployment he traveled through Southern Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad. He writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on psychological health concerns related to deployment and being in the military.

    If you keep up with the DCoE Blog or national news, it’s likely you’ve heard of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that some people develop after being exposed to a traumatic experience, like combat. If so, you might be wondering what treatments are available.

    While evidenced-based treatments such as prolonged exposure and cognitive processing therapy have been successful in many patients with PTSD, the scientific community continues to research other helpful treatments. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, hospitals and universities are among those investigating options ranging from injections to reduce PTSD symptoms to smartphone apps developed to support those in psychological treatment.

  • Neuroendocrine Dysfunction: Hidden Complication Following TBI

    Service member evaluation
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brent C. Powell

    Health care providers understand that making the correct diagnosis is key to effective treatment and recovery. If you’re a provider, did you know that for your patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), there’s a fair chance you could overlook a diagnosis of neuroendocrine dysfunction (NED) post TBI? NED is a condition that can be tricky to diagnose because it has many symptoms in common with other conditions that co-occur with TBI, such as sleep disorders, depression, substance abuse disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Health care providers should be aware that because screening for NED is not performed routinely in the acute post-injury period, the dysfunction is under-diagnosed, under-treated and may affect the patient’s rate of recovery.

    According to Therese West, subject matter expert with Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center clinical affairs division, research has noted that an estimated 15 percent of patients with mild TBI experience persistent symptoms, and the incidence of NED in those mild TBI patients ranges from an estimated 16 to 40 percent. Simply put, NED refers to a variety of conditions caused by imbalances in the body's hormone production. There are two areas of the brain responsible for regulating the production of hormones, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland; both are potentially vulnerable to traumatic brain injury.

  • Online Community Connects Service Members to TBI Resources

    If you or someone close to you has experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may know the feeling of being set apart from others, and a loss of a sense of community. You can restore that sense of community with, an online resource for service members and families whose lives have been affected by a brain injury.

  • DVBIC Supports TBI Health Care Providers with Online Training

    online training
    U.S. Army photo

    Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) offers online training courses for civilian health care providers to familiarize them with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often seen in the military population. Accessed through, the courses help providers develop skills and knowledge to effectively treat combat-related TBI symptoms, as well as common co-occurring conditions.


    “The goal is to empower and prepare civilian providers so they join with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to provide the best care possible for our service members and veterans,” said Michael Wilmore, DVBIC provider education chief.


    Two online training courses are available:


  • Experts Address Bloggers' TBI Questions

    army soldier
    Photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras

    What should military spouses know about a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and where should they go for help? What’s the update on field testing of military headgear equipped with environmental sensors to record velocity, acceleration and impact in the study of blast concussion? What would you advise mid-level leaders about the importance of giving their troops time to seek rest after suffering a mild TBI?


    Col. Jamie Grimes, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) director, and Ms. Kathy Helmick, DVBIC deputy director, addressed these questions and more as they explored TBI with callers during a bloggers roundtable DoDLive hosted last week. The roundtable offered an opportunity for bloggers to connect with Defense Department leaders and subject matter experts.


  • DVBIC Resource Guides Address TBI and Families

    Addressing family needs

    As you can imagine, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects more than just the injured person; it affects the whole family. And, support from family and friends have a huge impact on the recovery process for someone with a TBI. Helping families and caregivers understand their crucial roles is the purpose of a suite of resources developed by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC).


    DVBIC developed the guides to offer families advice and strategies to cope with the behavioral and emotional changes their loved one with TBI may experience. Further, they help caregivers tackle tough issues, such as how to talk to children about TBI and how to cope with the emotional challenges often associated with caregiving in language that’s easy to understand. The topics include:

    • Addressing family needs
    • Talking with children about TBI
    • Talking with children about moderate or severe TBI
    • Taking care of yourself while caring for others